Since its founding in 1914, Johnson & Wales University’s fundamental purpose has been to support its students in fulfilling their professional aspirations. Through its unique approach to education, JWU grew from a small local secretarial school to a national university. For 100-plus years, Johnson & Wales University has helped students earn a quality education that prepares them for long and prosperous careers. The College of Online Education is helping to carry this university heritage forward into the 21st century.
1914 JWU founded as a business school in Providence, R.I., by Gertrude I. Johnson and Mary T. Wales.
1944 In 1944, President Roosevelt signed the GI Bill of Rights providing veterans with training and educational benefits. This was the beginning of JWU's dedication to military servicemembers.
1963 Rhode Island granted a charter that authorized the university to operate as a nonprofit, degree-granting institution of higher learning and to award associate degrees in the arts and sciences.
1970 The State of Rhode Island approved a revision of Johnson & Wales University's charter to award baccalaureate degrees.
1980 The governor and General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island granted a legislative charter, which authorized Johnson & Wales University to award advanced degrees.
1984 JWU campus in Charleston, S.C., opens. (Campus was consolidated with the Norfolk, Va., campus in 2004 into a new Charlotte, N.C., campus.)
1985 Graduate degree programs and later a doctorate in education were introduced at the university through the Alan Shawn Feinstein Graduate School and School of Education in Providence.
1986 JWU campus in Norfolk opens.
1988 The charter is amended, elevating the college to university status.
1992 JWU campus in North Miami, Fla., opens. The College of Business, the Hospitality College, the College of Culinary Arts, and the School of Technology are established.
2000 JWU campus in Denver opens.
2004 JWU campus in Charlotte opens, consolidating Charleston and Norfolk campuses into one location.
2008 Online courses offered on campus.
2010 First fully online degree program, Food Service Management, launched.
2013 The School of Online & Continuing Education (SOCE) is established.
2014 First online MBA program. First SOCE graduates. JWU receives William M. Burke Presidential Award for Excellence in Experiential Education.
2015 SOCE adds online degree programs, bringing the total offerings to 20 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
2016 The School of Online & Continuing Education is renamed the College of Online Education.