The History of Capella University
Looking Back, Looking Ahead
Capella University was born out of a belief that quality higher education should be broadly accessible to working adults. For the past 20 years, Capella has lived up to this founding ideal by developing a truly innovative approach to education that extends access to a larger population of students.
TypeThe Graduate School of America Is Founded
Driven to bring higher education to an underserved adult population, Stephen Shank, former Tonka Corporation CEO, joins forces with Dr. Harold Abel, a former president of 3 universities. Together they started The Graduate School of America (TGSA), which originally offered online master's and doctoral degrees in Management, Education, and Human Services.
TypeFirst Students Graduate
14 students graduate from TGSA with 9 MS degrees and 5 PhD degrees.
TypeCapella University Is Born
TGSA is renamed to Capella University after the brightest star in constellation Auriga.
Type10th Degree Program Offered
Type1,000th Student Enrolls
Type100th Student Graduates
TypeBachelor's Degrees Added
Capella expands its offerings to include a BS in Information Technology, followed by a BS in Business.
Type1,000th Student Graduates
TypeFirst CACREP Accredited
Type500th Faculty Member Hired
Type10,000th Student Enrolls
TypeAQIP Review Successful
Capella receives high marks and all accreditation stipulations are removed after the first comprehensive Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) check–up. AQIP participation requires members to analyze operational processes, measure outcomes, and set ambitious performance goals.
Type1,000th Faculty Member Hired
Type10,000th Student Graduates
TypePMI Accredits IT Programs
Type20th Degree Program Offered
TypeCapella Receives Excellence Awards
The IMS Global Learning Consortium presents Capella with the Learning Impact Award in the same year that the university receives the WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) award from the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET).
Type30,000th Student Enrolls
Type30th Degree Program Offered
Capella receives accreditation from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognize NCATE–accredited programs for the preparation of P–12 teachers and other professional school personnel.
TypeCapella Honored for Outstanding Work
Capella receives the 2010 CHEA Award for Outstanding Institutional Practice in Student Learning Outcomes by The Council for Higher Education Accreditation. In the same year the National University Telecommunications Network presents Capella with the NUTN Distance Education Innovation Award.
Type20,000th Student Graduates
Type35,000th Student Enrolls
Type40th Degree Program Offered
Type1,500th Faculty Member Hired
Type25,000th Student Graduates
Type30,000th Student Graduates
TypeSuccessful Past, Promising Future
After 20 years of growing and success, Capella continues to lead in the field of higher education.