JWU timeline


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. Let’s take a look at the women, men, and events
who impacted the university’s past and are shaping its future. Gertrude Irene Johnson and Mary Tiffany Wales,
open the Johnson & Wales Business School in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1914. The school
started as a secretarial school for the growing number of office jobs. During the era of women’s
suffrage, Misses Johnson and Wales break gender barriers and forge a path for women. During the early years through the 1930s,
the school not only survives inherent sexism against women in the workplace, World War
I, the 1929 stock market crash, the Great Depression, and even a hurricane that struck
Providence in 1938, but it prospers. After Mary Wales is diagnosed with cancer
in 1947, she and Gertrude Johnson ask former star student Vilma Triangolo and her husband,
Edward, if they would like to buy the school. During the 1950s, Ed Triangolo and his Navy
friend Morris Gaebe run the school as co-directors. They aggressively recruit students and tap
into the pool of former soldiers under the GI Bill. In 1960, Johnson & Wales becomes a junior
college and is accredited by The Accrediting Commission for Business Schools. 1962 is a big year: The college purchases
its first building, Plantations Hall, and John Yena is hired as accounting teacher and
basketball coach. He soon gets promoted to dean, then vice president and becomes Gaebe’s
right-hand man. The next decade was a pivotal one for the
university. In 1963, the state of Rhode Island authorizes Johnson & Wales to operate as a
nonprofit, degree-granting institution. An era ended in 1969 when Triangolo retired.
Gaebe took his place as president, a role he kept for 20 years. It was also around this time that J&W changed
its name from Johnson & Wales Junior College of Business to Johnson & Wales College. In 1973, J&W purchases more than 100 scenic
acres along Narragansett Bay. This once WWII shipyard will one day become a world-renowned
institution for the culinary arts. Today, it is the Harborside Campus. In 1974, John Bowen is hired as a culinary
faculty member. He eventually is dean of culinary arts and then goes on to establish the Career
Development Office. This idea was instrumental in setting Johnson & Wales apart as a career-focused
institution. Cookbook donations and culinary collections
begin building the future Culinary Arts Museum in 1979. Today, the museum on the Harborside Campus
houses more than 250,000 culinary artifacts. In 1984, the Charleston, South Carolina, campus
opens. It offers associate degree programs in food service, mainly to Navy personnel.
Later, programs expand to hospitality and travel-tourism. 1985 sees the launch of the graduate school,
which will eventually offer master’s degrees in business, teacher education, and criminal
justice and a doctorate degree in educational leadership.
The Norfolk, Virginia, campus opens in 1986. In 1988, the university charter is amended
and Johnson & Wales is elevated from college to university status. Four years later, JWU expands to Florida and
opens the North Miami campus. The 90s were a decade of progress. The university
formally establishes the College of Business, The Hospitality College, the College of Culinary
Arts and the School of Technology. Accreditation from the Commission on Institutions of Higher
Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges comes in 1993. Taking
the lead nationwide, JWU establishes a bachelor’s degree program in the College of Culinary
Arts, the first in the U.S. At the beginning of the new millennium, JWU
opens a campus in Denver, Colorado. A strategic decision is made to consolidate
JWU’s smaller Charleston and Norfolk campuses into a campus in Charlotte, N.C. JWU’s Charlotte
Campus opens in fall 2004 and offers associate and bachelor’s degree programs in business,
culinary arts and hospitality. In 2010, John J. Bowen becomes JWU’s chancellor
following Yena’s retirement and after serving as vice president, executive vice president,
and president since 2004. In September of that year, JWU offers its
first fully online Bachelor’s degree program in Food Service Management. Mim L. Runey, LPD, becomes President and Chief
Operating Officer of the Providence Campus in 2011. The School of Online & Continuing Education
(now known as the College of Online Education) is formed in 2013, launching online undergraduate
and graduate degree programs. As JWU celebrated its 100th year in 2014,
the university launched the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies and the first
class of 24 students. JWU’s focus on preparing its students for
their careers is recognized when the university received the prestigious 2014 William M. Burke
Presidential Award for Excellence in Experiential Education, presented by the National Society
for Experiential Education (NSEE). Considering the university’s remarkable history
and all that the institution has accomplished throughout the last century, it’s exciting
to consider what is ahead. The future is bright for Johnson & Wales, its students, and its alumni!

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