History of the University

  • Coleman University

    Coleman University is a private non-profit teaching university founded in 1963, and located in San Diego, California. Its technology-focused undergraduate and graduate programs prepare individuals for careers, and leadership, in their chosen fields. As San Diego’s oldest school dedicated to information technology, Coleman University has historically educated a large number of the region’s business-technology professionals.

    In 1963, when advanced education in computer technology was found mostly in engineering schools, and few trade schools existed to prepare students for entry-level jobs in electronic data processing, Dr. Coleman Furr, and his wife Lois, envisioned an educational institution that would prepare students for careers in the Information Age. They foresaw unprecedented opportunities in business, government, industry, and education for people who could master, and apply, computer and information technologies. Their vision became reality in November 1963 when the Automation Institute of San Diego, which is now Coleman University, opened in downtown San Diego, California. Dr. Furr was inspired by Dr. Paul Pair, a pioneer in the field of data processing education. In founding the Automation Institute of Chicago in 1957, Dr. Pair sought to bridge the gap between campuses and corporations, while educating future information technology leaders. Dr. Pair urged Dr. Furr to “give it forward” and set the foundation for Coleman University.

    In the early days, the focus was on short-term certificate programs that prepared students for specific jobs. As the use of information technology expanded at an unprecedented rate in the 1970s, Coleman College responded to the need for ever-increasing numbers of individuals prepared for technology-focused careers, and the first degree program was offered—Bachelor of Computer Information Science. This program was shortly followed by other Associate of Science and Bachelor of Science degree programs. The 1970s also saw the introduction of the “Coleman Inverted Curriculum” that provides students the opportunity to first concentrate on their lower-division technical courses. Students would then pursue General Education, intermediate technology, and advanced technology requirements for their undergraduate degrees, while being able to work in their career fields. With some minor modifications, current undergraduate programs are based on this Inverted Curriculum model.

    Coleman College continued to expand and update its curricula during the 1980’s, specializing in both information science and computer technology. With the guidance and support of industry leaders in San Diego, Coleman College introduced its first graduate degree in 1982—Master of Science in Information Systems. The objective for this degree was to provide graduates with the technical knowledge, conceptual understanding, and research skills necessary to function effectively as leaders in their technical professions. With this objective in mind, this degree program has been upgraded and revised over the last three decades resulting in today’s Master of Science in Information Systems Management (MSISM).

    Anticipating the need to develop individuals for careers in network systems, administration and security, Coleman College offered its first computer networks degree programs in 1996. These programs have evolved, with significant industry advice, into today’s Cybersecurity associate and bachelor degrees. In 2017, University.com ranked the Coleman University Cybersecurity program as #1 in San Diego. Coleman College began its fifth decade moving to its current campus on Kearny Mesa in 2004. In 2008, two major decisions were announced during the 45th Anniversary Celebration. First was that Coleman College would make the transition to Coleman University. Second was that the University would seek regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Recognizing the advanced management education needed by business-technology professionals, Coleman University introduced its Master of Business Administration program in 2009. Currently, the MBA program addresses the needs of students who have a technology background, and who wish to transition into general business and management. In 2011, Coleman University introduced a Master of Business Administration with a specialization in Health Care Management (MBA HCM). The MBA HCM provides students with essential tools and insights into the management of today’s information-based health care business.

    As Coleman University prepares for its 55th anniversary, it looks back with pride at the education and career preparation provided to students and alumni from every part of the United States and over 50 foreign countries. Long recognized by numerous educational and industry organizations as a leader in information technology education, Coleman University continues to pioneer new teaching techniques with great effectiveness. Faculty continues to research technological developments along with industry advisors so that curricula and technology can be continuously updated.