UMUC Celebrates 60 Years of Providing Higher Education Across the U.S. and Abroad

Milestone celebrates transition from a single department focused on continuing studies to the second-largest degree-granting university in Maryland

By Kerry O'Neill ( |   October 16, 2008

ADELPHI, Md. (Jan. 28, 2008) – University of Maryland University College (UMUC) today announced the celebration of its 60th anniversary on Saturday, Feb. 9, at the UMUC Inn and Conference Center Ballroom in Adelphi, Md. Over the past 60 years, UMUC has grown from a single department in the University of Maryland College of Education into the second-largest degree-granting university in Maryland.

UMUC was founded in 1947 as the College of Special and Continuation Studies, a branch of the University of Maryland’s College of Education, with locations in College Park and around the state. Through a contract with the Department of Defense, UMUC was able to provide GI Bill-guaranteed education to soldiers in Europe in 1947. In the early 1950s, UMUC was also asked to provide the Department of Defense with guaranteed education in Asia and to operate the evening and weekend classes for the University of Maryland.  In 1964, UMUC opened the five-story Center of Adult Education as its headquarters, providing office space, conference rooms, a formal dining room, and 116 guest rooms. In 1970, UMUC transitioned into an independent institution, and in 1978, the university established what is now the Graduate School of Management and Technology, offering master’s degree programs tailored to the needs of mid- and upper-level managers in the workforce. In the mid-1990s, the university offered its first online courses and quickly grew into one of the largest public providers of online education in the nation, offering more than 680 distinct courses online and recording more than 175,000 individual online course enrollments in 2007.

"UMUC is an exceptional addition to the University System of Maryland, which prides itself on providing students in Maryland with superior higher education," said University System of Maryland Chancellor William E. Kirwan. "As an institution founded to provide education to the military, it speaks volumes that it has reached this remarkable milestone and transitioned to one of the largest degree-granting institutions in the state."

UMUC now serves 90,000 students worldwide and boasts more than 20 locations in the Washington, D.C., region and an on-site presence in 150 locations around the world—including military bases in 24 countries. With headquarters in Adelphi, Md., and administrative offices in Asia and Europe, UMUC offers more than 120 bachelor’s and master’s degree and certificate programs taught by faculty members who bring real-world experience to online and on-site classrooms. As demand grows for flexible, high-quality degree programs, the Board of Regents projects that UMUC’s enrollments will grow by 101 percent by 2015.

"It is an honor to serve as president of an institution that has been making higher education accessible to students around the world for 60 years," said Dr. Susan C. Aldridge, president of University of Maryland University College.  "With its longstanding experience and expertise, UMUC understands the educational needs of today’s adult students and is uniquely positioned to reach them in ways they want and need to be reached." 

President Aldridge will be joined by distinguished faculty members, alumni, and honored guests at a black-tie celebration of this milestone in UMUC’s history. All proceeds from the event will go to support the UMUC Anniversary Scholarship Fund and other 60th anniversary activities.