History of Capella University
Capella University was the inspiration of Stephen Shank, former CEO of Tonka Corporation, who felt that many adults were underserved by traditional universities. He envisioned a high-quality university that people could attend from any location.
In 1991, Shank established the corporate entity that would become Capella Education Company. In 1993, Dr. Harold Abel, an experienced leader in higher education and former president of three universities, joined Shank to found The Graduate School of America, now called Capella University. Originally, the university offered online master's and doctoral degrees in management, education, and human services.
Today, Capella University offers 1,670 online courses and 43 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in 145 specialized areas of study. Capella's nearly 36,000 learners include a diverse group of adults from all 50 states and 61 countries.
- 2012 — Scott L. Kinney became president of Capella University
- 2011 — Dr. Deborah Bushway became interim president of Capella University
- 2011 — The Bachelor of Science in Information Technology program earned accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
- 2011 — The Master of Science in Education specialization in Early Childhood Education earned National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) National Recognition.
- 2011 — The Masters of Science (MS) in Education, Education Specialist (EdS) and Doctorate (PhD) in Education specialization in Leadership in Educational Administration earned Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC) National Recognition (Building Level).
- 2011 — Graduated 25,000th learner
- 2010 — Larry A. Isaak became president of Capella University
- 2010 — Capella receives accreditation from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
- 2010 — Graduated 20,000th learner
- 2010 — Capella University is awarded the 2010 CHEA Award for Outstanding Institutional Practice in Student Learning Outcomes by The Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
- 2010 — Capella University accepted invitation to join the President’s Alliance of the New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning & Accountability
- 2010 — Capella University is awarded the NUTN Distance Education Innovation Award by the National University Telecommunications Network
- 2009 — Dr. Christopher Cassirer became President of Capella University
- 2009 — Launched Doctor of Education (EdD) degree
- 2009 — Kevin Gilligan became Chief Executive Officer of Capella Education Company
- 2009 — Capella University is granted full institutional approval by the Minnesota Board of Teaching
- 2009 — Capella established the new School of Public Service Leadership
- 2009 — Capella University received the 2009 Learning Impact Award from IMS Global Learning Consortium
- 2009 — The Specialist Certificate in School Psychology was granted approval with conditions from January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2011, by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
- 2009 — Capella University is a charter member of Transparency by Design, the initiative that developed and officially launched the College Choices for Adults website in August 2009
- 2009 — The Master of Science in School Counseling is accredited by the American Counseling Association’s Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
- 2009 — Capella University received the 2009 Outstanding Work (WOW) Award from WCET
- 2009 — Enrollment exceeded 30,000 learners
- 2008 — Capella University's accreditation is reaffirmed by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC); Capella’s next scheduled accreditation reaffirmation process will be during the 2014-2015 academic year
- 2008 — The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM™) acknowledged that three Capella HR specializations (in the BS, MS, and MBA programs) fully align with SHRM’s HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates
- 2008 — The Master of Science specialization in School Counseling received approval from the Arizona Department of Education
- 2008 — The Doctor of Philosophy in Education specialization in Special Education Leadership received approval from the Minnesota Board of School Administrators
- 2008 — The Bachelor and Master of Science in Information Technology specializations in Project Management were accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI®) Global Accreditation Center for Project Management (PMI-GAC)
- 2007 — The Master of Science specialization in Reading and Literacy received approval as a program leading to professional licensure by the Minnesota Board of Teaching. This is the first and only online Reading and Literacy program to be approved by this agency
- 2007 — Capella University is designated by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education for the academic years 2007-2012
- 2007 — Enrollment exceeded 20,000 learnersLaunched Education Specialist (EdS) degree
- 2007 — Graduated 10,000th learner
- 2006 — The first comprehensive AQIP check-up visit since our original accreditation visit in 1997 was highly successful: the visiting team recommended that all accreditation stipulations be removed, and complimented Capella University for achieving what has taken other institutions years to accomplish
- 2006 — The Higher Learning Commission removes the Statement of Affiliation Status stipulation and extends Capella University accreditation to develop and deliver new undergraduate programs and degree offerings
- 2006 — Capella Education Company, the parent company of Capella University, completed its initial public offering of common stock and started to trade under the ticker symbol CPLA on the Nasdaq stock market
- 2005 — The marital, couple, and family counseling/therapy specialization in School of Human Services is accredited by American Counseling Association’s Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
- 2005 — Graduated 5,000th learner
- 2004 — Enrollment exceeded 10,000 learners
- 2003 — Approved by Minnesota Board of School Administrators to offer education leadership specializations in School of Education
- 2003 — The mental health counseling specialization in School of Human Services is accredited by American Counseling Association’s Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
- 2003 — Approved by the North Central Association to launch four-year undergraduate programs in Business and in Information Technology
- 2003 — Approved by the North Central Association to offer PsyD in School of Psychology
- 2003 — Formed collaboration with Augsburg College to offer four-year baccalaureate degree starting in 2004
- 2002 — Graduated 1,000th learner
- 2001 — Dr. Michael Offerman became president of Capella University; Stephen Shank became chancellor
- 2001 — Approved by NCA to offer upper-division Bachelor’s degree in Business
- 2000 — Became charter member of the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) of the North Central Association’s Higher Learning Commission; accreditation extended to 2007-2008
- 2000 — Approved by Minnesota Higher Education Services Office to grant BS degree
- 2000 — Approved by NCA to offer upper-division Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology
- 1999 — Joined the US Department of Education’s Distance Education Demonstration Program
- 1999 — TGSA became Capella University; School of Psychology founded
- 1999 — Stephen Shank became president of Capella University; Bruce Francis became chancellor
- 1999 — Enrollment exceeded 1,000 learners
- 1999 — Graduated 100th learner
- 1998 — Approved by the North Central Association for MS and PhD degrees in Psychology
- 1998 — Approved by Minnesota Higher Education Services Office to grant MBA degree
- 1997 — Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA)*; at that time, TGSA offered MS and PhD degrees in Organization and Management, Education, Human Services, and Interdisciplinary Studies
- 1997 — Graduated first learners (9 MS degrees, 5 PhD degrees)
- 1995 — Dr. Bruce Francis became president of TGSA
- 1993 — The Graduate School of America (TGSA) founded by Stephen Shank and Dr. Harold Abel
- 1993 — Dr. Harold Abel became first president of TGSA
- 1993 — Approved by Minnesota Higher Education Services Office to grant MS and PhD degrees in Organization and Management, Education, Human Services, and Interdisciplinary Studies
*Capella University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), www.ncahlc.org.
Capella University, Capella Tower, 225 South Sixth Street, Ninth Floor, Minneapolis, MN 55402, 1-888-CAPELLA (227-3552), www.capella.edu.