Higher Ed

Thomas Edison State University Celebrates 50 Years

A year’s worth of events and activities will commemorate the past 50 while looking forward to the University’s future

Thomas Edison State University (TESU) President Merodie A. Hancock, PhD, announced plans to celebrate the University’s 50th Anniversary with a yearlong series of events that will honor TESU’s rich history while celebrating its role as the leader in transforming adult education.

The University was chartered as Edison College on July 1, 1972, by the New Jersey State Board of Higher Education. The first such institution of its kind, the resolution establishing the school noted it 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.”

Since then, the University has grown from offering correspondence courses to state-of-the-art online education and from just one associate degree to more than 100 areas of study that span associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The formal celebration will kick off Wednesday, Dec. 1, and will span most of 2022, culminating with University Day in 2022.

“Thomas Edison State University has empowered adult students to transform their lives through education since 1972,” said Hancock. “Our 50th will celebrate this rich past, but it is not a time to rest on our laurels. We are entering a whole new era in talent and economic development, and TESU is ready for the next 50 years of creating relevant academic pathways for successful working adults.”

The University will look to the future with its first 50th Anniversary event during University Day, celebrated each Dec. 1 to commemorate the day the college was granted University status in 2015.

The event this year will include an inaugural Edison Speaker Series, featuring three distinguished panelists as they explore the innovative ways top employers are identifying, preparing and retaining diverse talent for the workforce of today and tomorrow. Hancock will moderate a discussion between Maurice Jones, CEO, OneTen.org; Lillian Lowery, vice president, ETS, and former Maryland State Department Superintendent of Schools and the secretary of Education, Delaware Department of Education; and Michelle Siekerka, president and CEO, New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA).

The Speaker Series, introduced in this 50th year, will strive to identify dialog that looks to the future while taking a deep dive into issues that affect the crossroad between society and higher education.

“Universities are meant to challenge us to explore new areas and find new solutions,” explained Hancock. “We are thought leaders and catalysts for conversations that are often difficult, but necessary. And, in the end, we hope that new thoughts and ideas will flourish because of these conversations.”

Due to social distancing concerns, this year’s University Day event will take place virtually. The public is invited to join the conversation via Zoom at 10 a.m. on Dec. 1. Free registration can be found here.

“We look forward to celebrating this anniversary milestone with the community both later this week and over the course of several celebrations and special events in the coming months,” said Hancock.

A redesigned University logo will be used this year to reflect the celebration.

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