University of Phoenix Celebrates Four Decades of Innovative Higher Education | University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix Celebrates Four Decades of Innovative Higher Education

By University of Phoenix

  • Jul 14, 2016
  • 4 min read

Helping Nearly One Million Working Adults Achieve Their Higher Education Goals, University Reaches 40 Year Milestone in July 2016

PHOENIX, July 14, 2016 — This month will mark the 40th anniversary of University of Phoenix, one of the country’s most recognized and innovative universities. Four decades after visionary entrepreneur Dr. John Sperling founded University of Phoenix to serve students taking nontraditional paths, the University has graduated nearly one million working adults, helping them achieve their higher education goals. Today, University of Phoenix continues to fill an important role through its mission to change the lives of its students, their families and future generations through higher education.

“This is a tremendous milestone for the University of Phoenix family,” said Timothy P. Slottow, University of Phoenix’s seventh president. “It calls on us all to celebrate our founder John Sperling’s legacy of innovation and service in higher education, and to further dedicate ourselves to serving nontraditional students as we rise to our vision of becoming the most trusted provider of career-relevant higher education for working adults.”

In 1976, Dr. Sperling founded University of Phoenix based on two important observations from educating local police officers and teachers in California. Sperling realized that working adults lacked a university tailored to their needs with flexibility and support, and that these adult students learned differently than younger, traditional students. Seeking to help these students, Sperling defied the status quo to develop a first-of-its-kind institution with an instructional framework designed specifically for working adults. University of Phoenix further pushed boundaries by focusing on hiring practitioner faculty and later by pioneering online degrees.

The nascent University of Phoenix immediately filled a crucial role in higher education, and has continually evolved to better serve nontraditional students in career-relevant fields. Last year, the University began a strategic transformation plan focused on furthering its progress in becoming a more-trusted, more-focused, less-complex and higher-retaining institution.

“The cornerstone of our University remains constant: an instructional framework designed for working adults, taught by a first-class practitioner faculty of industry professionals. The transformation plan underway builds upon this foundation to ensure that we are, as we always have been, forward looking,” said University of Phoenix Provost Dr. Meredith Curley.

Innovation and evolution are not new features for University of Phoenix, a school that has defied boundaries to serve students over the course of 40 years.

Key Facts & Figures from University of Phoenix’s History:

  • The first University of Phoenix class consisted of less than 10 students. Today, nearly one million students have graduated.
  • A pioneer in online education, University of Phoenix first introduced online courses in 1989. Today, more than 80 percent of University of Phoenix students are enrolled exclusively in online courses.
  • University of Phoenix offers more than 200 degree programs and more than 75 certificate programs nationwide.
  • University of Phoenix opened its first ground campus in San Jose, Calif. in 1980. There are now 26 campuses in key investment markets around the country.
  • University of Phoenix boasts graduates from all 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., and has helped its students continue their education while living abroad in countries around the globe, including Slovakia, Qatar, Benin and Zambia.

Highlighted below are just three University of Phoenix graduates, representing the University’s nearly one million graduates, success stories and notable alumni.

Col. Mike Morgan, Bachelor of Science, Business, 1988

While serving on active duty with the United States Air Force and in his additional service with the Arizona National Guard, Morgan decided it was the right time to pursue his bachelor’s degree. He enrolled in University of Phoenix’s undergraduate business program and started classes that didn’t require him to pause his job or his service. Today, Morgan is Chief of Staff in the Domestic Operations and Force Development directorate at the National Guard Bureau. His work to support the 54 states, territories and the District of Columbia National Guard during disasters, as well as representing National Guard interests in defense strategy for the bureau, exemplifies his lifelong commitment to his country.

Amelia Phillips, Master of Business, Technology Management, 1998

Phillips received her bachelor’s degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she studied astronautical engineering, archaeology and writing. She went on to become a Fulbright Scholar, and earned one of the first distance-learning Ph.D.s in Computer Security from University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2013. Phillips realized that she needed an MBA to advance in her career, and she did not want to take time off or relocate to attend school full-time. Receiving her MBA in Technology Management from University of Phoenix allowed her to pursue her degree while maintaining career commitments. She recently received the 100 Inspiring Women in STEM by Insight into Diversity magazine.

Ryan Zulkoski, Master of Science, Nursing, 2013

Zulkoski has served in the Army National Guard for 13 years, including a deployment to Iraq in 2005 and a humanitarian deployment to Nicaragua. Zulkoski received his bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and a master’s degree in nursing-informatics from University of Phoenix. While starting his master’s program, Zulkoski was working full-time, supporting his family and was a newly graduated Registered Nurse. The resources and support at University of Phoenix allowed him to balance his responsibilities while pursuing higher education. Currently, Zulkoski works at Children’s Hospital as a Clinical Informatics Manager and is also a Medical Logistics Specialist with the Nebraska Army National Guard 110th Multifunctional Medical Battalion.

For more information about each of these programs, including on-time completion rates, the median debt incurred by students who completed the program and other important information, please visit: phoenix.edu/programs/gainful-employment.

About the University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help working adults move efficiently from education to careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant and engaging courses, and interactive learning can help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. As a subsidiary of Apollo Education Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: APOL), University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. For more information, visit www.phoenix.edu.