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Celebrating the Past and Preparing for the Future
Fifty years ago, when Thomas Edison State University was established, it embraced a radical mission: to reimagine higher education for adults. The challenge was to design a new institution that embraced new approaches to improve access and respond to the needs of working adult students.
New Jersey took a chance in 1972 on an institution of higher education named after Thomas Alva Edison to invent these new approaches that would emphasize flexibility and recognize that college-level learning could occur outside of classrooms.
Over the past 50 years, TESU became part of a national movement to launch innovative institutions to serve adult learners, transforming the lives of thousands of students while changing the course of higher education.
As TESU celebrates our 50-year milestone, higher education is once again in need of reinvention. Inspired by our namesake, we are committed to redefine how higher education should respond to the needs of working adults, as well as the needs of their employers and their communities.
TESU is uniquely positioned to redefine the future of higher education for adults. The celebration of TESU’s 50th anniversary provides an opportunity to envision a bright future and to begin fully realizing it.
The 50th Anniversary provides an opportunity to promote and articulate the values and initiatives that will lead the University into the next 50 years. Each quarter, we will highlight an area of strategic focus that remains at the core of who we are as we take an opportunity to promote the work being done in these areas and look ahead to where we are going…
If there is one commonality across our student population, it is that no two students are alike.
We recognize that our students bring tremendous skill and knowledge with them and come to us with a perspective uniquely shaped by their experiences. Therefore, we have purposefully designed our academic structure to meet each student where they are. From courses that range in length from 8 to 12 weeks to terms that start every month, to numerous open-minded and innovative ways for students to prove their college-level learning, we do everything we can to remove the barriers to degree completion and career growth.
The evolution of our student services continues to expand to support the needs of our students, the higher education marketplace, our strategic vision, and ongoing accreditation efforts. The University has dedicated resources to create an environment that cultivates adult learner success and transformation...
The Office of Career Development launch, career-focused workshops, the implementation of “What Can I Do with this Major” and College Central Network are part of our continued efforts to expand our student’s success. The Center for Student Success remains committed to connecting enrolled students to the right resources, at the right time, during every phase of their academic lifecycle.
As we move forward, we remain focused on addressing issues that have the potential to impact student success including balancing work, family, financial concerns, and all the other ways that life can divert adult learners from reaching their goal of earning a degree.
Stay tuned for more information about opportunities to gather together virtually or in person
as we celebrate our history and look ahead to our future!
The Division of Community and Government Affairs at Thomas Edison State University hosted a Community Food Distribution event, co-sponsored by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Date/Time: Saturday, June 4, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Location: Outside of the Kelsey Building, 111 West State Street in Trenton, NJ 08608
Free food was shared with individuals and families from the Trenton community.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
In celebration of Memorial Day, we are grateful to present our speaker, Captain David Christian, widely known as the “Youngest – Most Decorated Officer of the Vietnam War”. We hope you will join us virtually or in person as we recognize and honor all those who have served.
David A. Christian was raised in Levittown, married a Penndel girl named Peggy Todd at Our Lady of Grace and has raised his four children in Washington Crossing – Bucks County.
David entered the US Army after graduation from Woodrow Wilson High School. He went on to be an Airborne, Ranger, Green Beret during the Vietnam War and personally knew over 70 men whose names are engraved in the black granite of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial – two of these men died in Mr. Christian’s arms.
David is known throughout the country as the “Youngest – Most Decorated Officer of the Vietnam War”. He was commissioned an Officer at 18 years of age and gained the rank of Captain by the time he was 20 – only to retire from the Army for combat wounds when he was 21 and returned home here to Penndel and his beloved wife Peggy.
He distinguished himself in combat by being nominated for every valor award of the US Military to include the Medal of Honor and 7 Purple Hearts. During his combat career he discovered over 52 enemy Base Camps and when leading his Ranger/Recon Teams his men often said that “they owned the jungle”. Captain Christian is credited with personally destroying over 6 enemy machine gun nests while armed with only three hand grenades and a bayonet. Also, he captured enemy POW’s in hand to hand fighting, routed enemy insurgents, and captured valuable enemy documents and supplies.
Rightfully, David is proud of his combat service, but his dedication to the military continued when he became the author of the first Agent Orange legislation and the legislation on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that became the “Law of the Land for Military and Veterans”.
Monday, May 9, 2022
The Ridge at Back Brook in Ringoes, NJ
11:00 a.m. Shotgun Start
TESU strives to maintain affordable tuition for our adult students – many of whom are juggling work, family and school simultaneously. Proceeds from the golf classic support the TESU Scholarship Fund that provides resources for students who are on their way to earning a life changing degree.
In recognition of National Volunteer Week and as part of our 50th Anniversary Speaker Series, Dr. Merodie Hancock, president of Thomas Edison State University, will be joined by students, staff and alumni who share the University’s strong commitment to community.
Hear why Jennifer Hutchinson, Gabriela Mendoza, Melody Ward and DJ Weltch are invested in giving back to their communities as they discuss their commitment to the importance of volunteerism in their professional and personal lives.
Jennifer Hutchinson, TESU Student Trustee, Board of Trustees
Jennifer serves as the chair of the local Burlington and Camden Board of Directors for the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. With a 100 year legacy of driving change, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey plays a unique role breaking down barriers as they work together to end poverty and expand opportunities throughout our community.
Gabby has been actively engaged in her community both personally and professionally over the years, giving of her time to numerous organizations, volunteering with her alma mater and now serving in the role of Community Engagement Coordinator at TESU. In her current role, she helps build connections between the University and the surrounding community creating opportunities to give back and get involved.
Melody Ward, AAHS ’18, BSHS ’20
Melody works at the Center for Family Services which operates more than 70 programs – among them, the Services Empowering the Rights of Victims (SERV) program. She and fellow SERV members routinely provide crisis intervention counseling, connection to resources and professional support to victims of sexual violence, domestic abuse and human trafficking through the program’s 24-hour hotline, virtual support groups and emergency shelters. Melody’s role allows her to focus on her passion of providing a voice to the voiceless. Read more about Melody’s story.
DJ Weltch, BA ’16
DJ grew up in Trenton and worked as a social worker helping the youth in the city. He remains involved today, joining in the initiative dedicated to restoring the historic Locust Hill Cemetery, the largest African American burial ground in Trenton. Weltch now works as operations manager at the Amazon site in Florence, where he is also community liaison and a leader in Amazon’s Black Employee Network.
As part of our 50th Anniversary Speaker Series, Aisha Thomas-Petit has been invited to deliver a keynote presentation at noon on Feb. 11. Thomas-Petit, chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion officer at AMC Networks Inc., will speak about her work in the film and media industry as it relates to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, followed by a question and answer session from the audience. Students, alumni and friends of the University are invited to join us.
Join the virtual discussion with Rev. Dr. Charles Boyer, pastor of Greater Mt. Zion AME Church Trenton and founder of Salvation and Social Justice, as he addresses health equality, diversity, equity and inclusion issues, the pandemic’s effect on Trenton residents and MLK’s mission as it relates to the Trenton community.
Our expert panel will explore the innovative ways top employers are identifying, preparing and retaining diverse talent for the workforce of today and tomorrow.
Listen as Thomas Edison President Merodie Hancock discusses wide-ranging topics with expert guests in areas like women in leadership, diversity and inclusion, planning for a 21st century workforce, building a better Capital City and everything in between from the perspective of a university president.
Learn more about our presidents and their roles in shaping Thomas Edison State University.
Throughout the University’s 50 years of serving adult learners, more than 60,000 alumni have earned their degree going on to have a meaningful impact throughout our communities.
The actions of our alumni are woven into the stories of those around them whether it is encouraging others to pursue their degrees, inspiring children or family members to reach their goals, re-entering the workforce or earning a promotion, helping those less fortunate by volunteering locally or internationally…the list goes on. Each seemingly small action has a larger impact, not just on our alumni but in the lives of all those around them.
We want to hear about the impact you’ve had and how earning your degree opened doors for you to help, inspire, advance, encourage, ultimately changing the world around you for the better. We believe the TESU community has had a significant impact over the past 50 years and we want to hear how earning your degree started a Ripple Effect for those around you.
Thank you for sharing your story!
1972: It was a very good year!
Also in 1972, Edison College, known today as Thomas Edison State University, was established by the New Jersey State Board of Higher Education. Before that, no institution quite like it had ever existed.
According to the resolution establishing the school, Edison College was created to “…enable individuals to receive academic recognition for skills and knowledge acquired in a variety of ways and would permit New Jersey residents to complete part or all of their work toward a baccalaureate or associate degree without formal attendance at a campus.”
My name is Elizabeth Ewing, and I am the proud first graduate of Thomas Edison State University, then College.
I am very pleased to be able to share my story in celebration of the University’s 50th Anniversary. In 1973 I was a young mother and a student at Monmouth University. Finding the time to attend class and care for my son was difficult at times, and when he had an unfortunate accident resulting in a broken leg, I was no longer able to physically attend class. I was frustrated and disappointed because I was so close to earning my degree.
A friend told me about a new state college that was allowing students to transfer credits from other institutions. Having enough credits to earn an associate degree, I transferred all my credits to Thomas Edison and graduated on June 15, 1973, at the College’s first commencement ceremony. We lined up alphabetically and with my last name being Barry at the time, I became the very first alumni.
The University has grown so much in the last 50 years, but its mission has not waivered. Today, the University is still as dedicated to providing flexible higher education for working adults as it was in 1972. With new and innovative approaches, the University is focused on responding to the needs of working adults and their employers and ensuring that the impact of a TESU degree extends into our communities.
I have been supporting the University over the years with an annual gift and am delighted to be able to give back so that others might have the same wonderful experience as I did. As part of the University’s 50th Anniversary celebration, please join me in making a meaningful gift to support the University that truly transformed my life and the lives of so many others!
A Campus with History
Thomas Edison State University’s campus comprises six buildings located in the historic district surrounding New Jersey’s state capitol building in Trenton.
The Ripple Effect
Your TESU story didn’t end when you earned your degree. Your impact had only begun. Tell us how earning your degree started a ripple effect in your life and the lives of those around you.
Since 1972, TESU has been a leader in adult education, focusing exclusively on you. We understand the importance of providing flexibility with structure, and it’s our goal to provide a learning environment that is right for you and your needs. As a result, at TESU we strive to meet our ultimate goal – helping you to achieve a degree that will lead you to career advancement.
100+ Degree Programs
Choose from associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, plus certificates.
Undergraduate courses start monthly. Graduate courses have multiple start dates per year.
Study when and where it’s convenient for you with online classes.
Friendly to the Military
As a Yellow Ribbon school, we offer tuition discounts to service members and their families.
We accept eligible transfer credits – from prior education, prior learning, and military training.