Grand Canyon University is an accredited online university with a 60-year history. Seeped in the tradition of our traditional Phoenix campus, GCU offers students the flexibility of choosing to take courses in the classroom or online.
Grand Canyon College, as it was initially referred to, was chartered on August 1, 1949, with 16 faculty and approximately 100 students, many of them veterans. In 1951 the College put up its first permanent buildings on a 90-acre tract in west Phoenix. Grand Canyon College was fully accredited in 1968 by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Higher Learning Commission. The College was first considered a school primarily for preachers, but its reputation expanded rapidly. Grand Canyon College became known for its teacher education program, and soon developed outstanding programs in the sciences, nursing, business, music and the arts, while maintaining its excellence in Christian Studies.
In transitioning from Grand Canyon College to Grand Canyon University, the institution identified several strategies that would be pivotal to its growth. These included, but were not limited to, the organization of programs and departments into multiple colleges, the offering of graduate degree programs and the formation of the Grand Canyon University Foundation. The GCU Foundation was formed from the generosity of several individuals who pledged or gave unrestricted gifts valued at one million dollars or more to launch the University into the next decade and century. In May of 1984, the College trustees voted to prepare for transition to University status on the school's 40th anniversary in 1989. Another landmark event occurred at the turn of the century, at which time the University became self-owned by the Board of Trustees.
Four years later, in 2004, the University's ownership once again changed when it was purchased by Significant Education, LLC. At this time, the University became a for-profit institution with a vision for maintaining the strength of its campus-based programs, as well as a strong emphasis on online program offerings. Grand Canyon University currently offers over 100 bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in business, education, nursing, health care, liberal arts, and fine arts and production. With an online student body of over 40,000, GCU has maintained a strong reputation as an accredited online university.