In 1886, a group of visionary educators and business people saw a need for focused, career-based training in the southeastern United States. American National University was thus born, to fulfill the need for trained business, banking, accounting, administrative, and other professionals.
Through its first century, American National University (known back then as National Business College) steadily developed a reputation for providing men and women with an efficient and effective education preparing them for the world of professional work. Students from many states made the trek to Roanoke, Virginia, to receive a practical education that was more focused and relevant than that offered by other colleges and universities of the time.
As the college’s first 100 years drew to a close, however, changes had already been underway that would give the institution a different appearance even as it continued to remain true to its original purpose. The dormitories and large central campus gave way to multiple community-based campuses throughout Southwest Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Business curricula were supplemented by career-focused programs in computers and healthcare. Certificate programs were no longer the norm—students pursued more in-depth study leading to associate’s degrees and the college’s first baccalaureate programs had been introduced.
The university’s reputation for excellence has been affirmed through numerous awards and acknowledgments; including awards for grassroots student advocacy (Association for Private Sector Colleges & Universities TOPS Award), support for veterans (Military Friendly School), and a Lifetime Achievement Award (Imagine America Foundation) recognizing American National University President Frank Longaker’s 40 years of service to the career college sector, as well as numerous national rankings – to name just a few.
The university continues to evolve. In an effort to recognize the college’s continuous history of adapting to change in the worldwide economy and provide a vision for our anticipated development to carry us to our 200th anniversary in 2086, we have followed the theme of “Evolution 2086.”
In the 21st century, Evolution 2086 has freed ANU students and educators alike from a campus-centric environment. Today, American National University has developed into a master’s-level career-focused institution whose motto is “We Bring our University to You.” In leveraging technology to make education possible for even greater numbers of students, we have developed the three-fold concepts of Global Meet, Global Teach, and Global Learn. Global Meet brings the entirety of the university’s support services—admissions, financial aid, student services, library resources, and career services—to students and graduates anywhere they are. Global Teach brings together the most experienced and dedicated faculty together with the latest learning resources from a worldwide network and makes them available to students anywhere they are. Students now attend synchronous, face-to-face Global Learn video conferencing classes as well as online courses, with a small number of on-campus courses for specialized labs or international students.
While continuing to focus on the fundamentals of business, computers, and health care, we will expand our offerings in developing fields. We will continuously evaluate existing programs, adapting their content, length, and method of delivery to ensure the most efficient path to completion is available to the largest number of students, making use of digital and home-based laboratory approaches to implement our High Tech, High Touch philosophy through distance education. We will continue to pursue programmatic accreditation in those fields for which such accreditation is essential as we do for current programs, and maintain the institutional accreditation most appropriate to the institution’s future goals.
Our focus on support services, long a hallmark of the University, will provide continued improvement in this area as well. Consolidation of financial aid, library, career services, and other functions at the University level has leveraged the latest technology to provide students with improved features and benefits. Consolidating enrollment at the main campus level has given students access to a wider array of programs, course offerings, and other services than would have been available at the local campus level.
Physical locations will be limited to those necessary to serve the on-campus residency requirements for international students. Programmatic needs, where necessary, will also be fulfilled through these locations until such time as those requirements have been transitioned to completely online delivery.
The evolution of the institution is reflected in our name: American National University. American, recognizing our role as a leading American institution for career-focused education for students from around the world; National, acknowledging our historical roots and nationwide reputation; University, representing our status as a graduate-level institution offering diverse academic, online, international, ESL, and corporate training programs.
What does not change are the hallmarks of the experience our tens of thousands of graduates have enjoyed since 1886.
With our continued evolution, current students will not see dramatic changes. American National University will continue to offer the career-focused, hands-on learning environment that has characterized our more than 130 years of excellence, while steadily evolving new programs, venues, methods of instruction, and educational fields appropriate to the 21st-century global economy. Students will continue to reap the benefits of our decades of tradition and experience as well as new opportunities and resources.