History of Ashford University


In 1918, the Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton, Iowa, founded Mount St. Clare College (MSC) as a junior college for women.


The College was first accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and maintained it until being accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).


Construction of a spacious two-story library building was completed. The St. Francis Auditorium-Gymnasium was built, construction of Durham Hall, a residence hall, was completed in 1962, and the Science Building was built in 1965.


MSC received approval to award baccalaureate degrees. The first degree offered was in Business Administration.


First baccalaureate degree conferred during graduation in May.


The Durgin Educational Center was completed in April. The first commencement ceremony was held there in May.


In December 2002, MSC became The Franciscan University, and in May 2004 it conferred its first Master’s degrees.


Bridgepoint Education, Inc., a higher education organization, acquired the institution in 2005, and its name was changed to Ashford University.


Ashford University partnered with the Clinton LumberKings (Midwest League affiliate of the Seattle Mariners) to rename historic Riverview Stadium as “Ashford University Field.”


Ashford University acquired a new logo, the badge of achievement. Also, Ashford launched a national advertising campaign promoting the unique message, Technology Changes Everything®. The spring commencement ceremony took place at the iWireless Center in Moline, IL.


Ashford University became accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Also, the College of Business and Professional Studies became the Forbes School of Business® due to the alliance formed between Ashford and Forbes Media.


San Diego, California hosted the fall commencement ceremony for the first time at the San Diego Convention Center.


Both spring and fall commencement ceremonies were held in San Diego at the Viejas Arena. Ashford University also added a family celebration day at the San Diego campus the day before commencement.