The history of University of Maryland University College* parallels the history of modern adult education in the United States. Established in 1947, the school's mission was to serve the adult students outside of the College Park campus, many of whom were veterans returning from World War II.
These new students were different from the traditional college students that filled America's campuses. They were older and often juggling family and work commitments that necessitated more flexible class schedules and more convenient locations.
* UMUC started out with a very different name in 1947.
The Evolution of the UMUC Name
The College of Special and Continuation Studies, or CSCS, is established within the University of Maryland's College of Education.
CSCS is separated from the College of Education, becoming a new college within the University of Maryland.
Within its first decade, CSCS is so successful that it becomes a separate degree-granting college of the University of Maryland.
The institution's name is changed from CSCS to University College, but it remains an entity within the University of Maryland.
University College is incorporated as University of Maryland University College—UMUC—independent of University of Maryland, College Park, and becomes one of the original five institutions that make up the new University of Maryland network.
A merger of the five members of the University of Maryland network, including UMUC, and the six members of the State University and College System of Maryland creates the University of Maryland System, with 11 degree-granting institutions.
The University of Maryland System name is changed to University System of Maryland, or USM.
UMUC remains a member of USM, which now includes 12 degree-granting institutions and two regional centers.
A Proud Military Heritage
UMUC took the lead in accommodating and educating adult students, not only at College Park, but all over Maryland. Then in 1949, at the request of the U.S. Department of Defense, UMUC became the first institution to send a team overseas to teach college classes to active-duty servicemembers. From a single classroom on a military base in postwar Germany, the school's faculty spread throughout Europe and Asia, going wherever they were needed—even into war zones—making UMUC a leading higher education provider to the U.S. military, veterans, and family members around the world.
A Trailblazer in Distance Learning
In the 1990s, UMUC began to transform higher education by becoming the first university in the United States to offer online degree programs. By combining a structure demanded by the nontraditional student with the reach of available technology, UMUC made it possible for busy working professionals, single mothers, servicemembers on deployment, military spouses, and tens of thousands of other students from all over the world to pursue their educational goals.
Leading the Next Generation of Higher Education
UMUC's numerous awards for outstanding achievements in distance learning recognize how successfully the school has leveraged the potential of the Internet to create the campus of the future. Today UMUC is a global leader in online education and endeavors to live up to its promise by continuing to explore innovative ways to expand educational opportunities for first-time learners and lifetime learners alike—anywhere in the world.
For a deeper dive into UMUC's unique history, you can access the University Archives.