National University — A Success Story

The closure of ITT Technical school sort of hit me.
I am certain that the closure is warranted, but I recall the start of National University — because for years I was the president of the Alumni Association, and a Core Adjunct Professor of Computer Science in its transition period.

The start of the University, now recognized as a fine university, was books sold from the trunk of the Founder’s car on Rosecrans Street, in the 1970s by Founder, David Chigos. By the time I joined as a professor, about 1984, I knew that the transition was underway when I saw a Marine at the soda machine, who obviously was a serious Gym Rat. His T-Shirt read, “Kill Them All (Let God sort it out),” but his conversation with a buddy was about the opposing views of Aristotle and Plato.

I did a silent, “Yes!”

At the time, or shortly thereafter that the fledgling university was placed on probation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) — actually I wondered why National had even applied to the Gold Standard of Accreditation instead of a lesser group, but it signaled the University was stretching.

They were, and slowly they attained the highest accreditation the Western States group offers, a six year accreditation! The WASC is the entity that gives accreditation to Stanford University and it had the Stanford had the same six years accreditation.

Damn good for a university started out of the trunk of a car! Along the way, the university not just stretched academically, in 1988 they hired the president (Dr. Jerry C. Lee) of the acclaimed University for the Deaf in Washington, Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. That was HUGE, because to give him his due although, we had differences, he was almost singularly responsible for the turnaround. No one else could have done it! Dr. Lee not only had the academic view, he had worked as an Accountant with General Motors, so he knew numbers.

National University is one of the city’s worst known success stories. 25,000 students in the second largest non-profit school of higher education in the state.

NU deserves better.

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