The historic renaming to Sanford National University honors Mr. Sanford’s visionary contributions toward transforming the education sector through a gift that is among the Top 15 largest donations to a U.S. higher education institution
Renowned philanthropist T. Denny Sanford and the San Diego-based National University are pleased to announce the University will be renamed Sanford National University, with a formal launch planned for July 1, 2020. In recognition of Mr. Sanford’s dedication to educational causes, the soon-to-be renamed Sanford National University will implement and advance a series of initiatives supported through a gift that represents among the Top 15 largest donations to a higher education institution. The initiatives will address some of the most critical challenges facing the education sector today and provide the private, nonprofit University unprecedented opportunities to create innovative solutions for post-secondary students nationwide.
Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of Mr. Sanford, and his major gifts to the University and the Sanford Programs, the newly-renamed university intends to dedicate significant financial resources to advance key areas of focus. Among the priorities will be increasing access to a quality education, tuition affordability, and student success. Through a focus on innovation, the University will further its efforts in developing a best-in-class, high-tech, high-touch student experience. Providing educational pathways for working adults in key industries will also be a cornerstone emphasis through workforce development. Another area of emphasis will be expansion of the Sanford Programs, which support societal advances through the education and nonprofit sectors.
The new University name honors the innovative spirit and philanthropic dedication of Mr. Sanford, who is recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the nation’s most generous philanthropists. As a signatory of the “Giving Pledge,” Mr. Sanford has committed to giving away most of his wealth during his lifetime — and has already donated approximately $2 billion, much of it to health care and education-related initiatives, including the Sanford Programs at the National University System.
“We are so grateful for all that Denny has done for National University over the years and are deeply honored to rename the university in recognition of the many contributions he has made to education and our society at large,” said Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, Chancellor of the National University System, which includes National University. “Denny’s vision and commitment to solving some of our society’s greatest challenges are great inspirations for us as we innovate and develop new models for student success. Clearly, we are very excited to have the opportunity to partner with Denny Sanford to significantly support our nation’s post-secondary students for generations to come.”
The private, nonprofit National University, which was launched in 1971, offers online and campus-based programs to serve adult learners, a student population that includes those who are working, raising families, as well as first-generation students. Two-thirds of all jobs created in this decade will require some form of post-secondary education, according to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce. Ensuring that adult learners, which represent about 38 percent of all post-secondary students, have access to a quality education is key to meeting that need while supporting our nation’s economic growth.
“Mr. T. Denny Sanford represents so much of what National University believes in as we challenge ourselves even further to advance and transform higher education for our students and all adult learners nationwide,” said Dr. David W. Andrews, President of National University.
Said Mr. Sanford: “I am thrilled to be associated with such a world-class organization and am honored and humbled to have my name alongside National University. I look forward to the positive impact Sanford National University will have on students and society at large and for the inspiration it will provide future generations to make a difference for their families, communities, and our nation.”
A South Dakotan and Midwestern businessman, Mr. Sanford amassed his fortune after coming from humble beginnings. Following his conferral of a BA in Psychology from the University of Minnesota, he started his first company, Contech. In 1986, he purchased a bank in Sioux Falls, renamed it, and expanded it to become First Premier Bank, and then added a credit card company, Premier Bankcard. He started his philanthropic giving in the late 1990s, with a focus on causes related to children and youth, health, and scientific research before expanding his interests to education.
He is the visionary of education-focused, research-based programs that are being expanded nationally through the National University System. These include the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy, which provides training for frontline fundraisers to expand the good work of their nonprofits. Sanford Harmony is a Pre-K-6 social emotional learning program designed to help boys and girls develop healthy relationships into their adult lives and reduce divorce rates through the acquisition of universally beneficial skills in cooperation, collaboration, and inclusion that support student achievement and success. Sanford Inspire provides educators with online resources and modules to create inspiring Pre-K-12 classrooms. In 2015, Mr. Sanford was honored with the naming of National University’s Sanford College of Education, which is among the Top 10 largest schools of education in the nation. The Sanford Programs have positively impacted more than 9 million students to date worldwide.
About National University
Founded in 1971, National University is among the largest, private, nonprofit universities in California. With more than 170,000 alumni, National University is dedicated to making lifelong learning opportunities accessible, challenging, and relevant to a diverse population of students through its three Colleges: Sanford College of Education, College of Professional Studies, and College of Letters and Sciences. Programs are offered both online and at campuses throughout California and Nevada. National University is headquartered in La Jolla, California. NU.edu.
About the National University System
The National University System is a network of accredited nonprofit education institutions serving a diverse population of students including Pre-K-12 students and working professionals. NUS higher-education institutions serve more than 45,000 students through National University, Northcentral University, City University of Seattle, and John F. Kennedy University. NUS education-focused initiatives include Workforce Education Solutions and the Sanford Programs. NUSystem.org
About the Sanford Programs
The Sanford Programs at National University System were established in 2014 through the generous support of philanthropist T. Denny Sanford to provide innovative programs in the Pre-K-12 and nonprofit sectors. National University System is leading the national expansion of the three initiatives: Sanford Inspire provides Pre-K-12 research-based resources and on-demand online modules that support inspiring teaching; Sanford Harmony is a Pre-K-6 research-based social emotional learning program; The Sanford Institute of Philanthropy helps support the preparation of nonprofit frontline fundraiser leaders to contribute to positive societal change. SanfordPrograms.org