DeVry University Celebrates Its 90th Anniversary With History Steeped in Technology and Innovation

The University pays tribute to role in distance learning, as it focuses on closing society’s opportunity gaps by preparing students for tech-related careers

NAPERVILLE, Ill.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–DeVry University celebrates its 90th year as a pacesetter for innovative education and online learning, as it continues its mission of providing students with educational pathways to help prepare them for careers in today’s rapidly transforming economy.

Distance learning has come a long way since 1912, when Dr. Herman DeVry invented the “Theater in a Suitcase,” a Model E portable projector that shifted the education technology paradigm. By 1913, these projectors became standard technology in U.S. schools nationwide. Almost 20 years later, in 1931, Dr. DeVry and Dr. Lee DeForest founded DeForest Training School, now DeVry University, in Chicago to prepare students for technical careers of that time.

Since then, DeVry has offered programs that respond to converging technologies and the changing nature of work. This is reflected in the courses and programs offered (e.g., certificates, undergraduate and graduate degrees, stackable credentials) and in teaching modalities (e.g., traditional classroom instruction, online and hybrid learning). DeVry’s goals remain unchanged: to help students prepare for meaningful careers that ultimately help close society’s opportunity gaps.

DeVry Through the Decades

DeVry’s 90-year history is steeped in technology and innovation, and through the years, shows how it has been an innovator in multidisciplinary programming and distance learning.

  • 1940s – DeForest Training School is selected by the United States to educate Army Air Corps instructors on electronic devices and becomes one of the first schools to be approved under the G.I. Bill
  • 1950s – DeForest Training School becomes DeVry Technical Institute and offers its first associate degree program in Electronics Engineering Technology
  • 1960s – DeVry Technical Institute becomes DeVry Institute of Technology and offers its first bachelor’s degree program in Electronics Engineering Technology
  • 1970s – Computer Science for Business becomes DeVry’s second bachelor’s degree program (now called Computer Information Systems)
  • 1980s – DeVry expands its degree programs to Accounting, Business Administration and Network and Communications Management, and earns accreditation from North Central Association.
  • 1990s – DeVry begins offering online programs
  • 2000s – DeVry Institute of Technology becomes DeVry University and receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
    • In response to increased demand for tech professionals with skills in health-related fields, DeVry begins offering undergraduate degree programs in the fields of Biomedical Engineering Technology, Biomedical Informatics and Health Information Technology.
    • Business Administration becomes DeVry’s first bachelor’s degree program offered online.
  • 2020s – DeVry University offers a series of Tech Essentials certificates to help students to learn future-ready skills and the Women+Tech Scholars Program to help equip women with the skills needed for tech fields

“As we review our long history of serving students and evolving both what we teach and how we teach, we take pride in the north star that has guided us since 1931 — to help students better their lives through an education that prepares them to thrive in workplaces shaped by continuous technological change,” said Tom Monahan, president and CEO of DeVry University. “As we emerge from the health and economic crisis of the pandemic, DeVry’s expertise at meeting the needs of adult and nontraditional learners will be vital to helping students, communities and corporate partners reap the benefits of a markedly more inclusive workplace and a markedly more digital future.”

The digital transformation of the workforce and the economy has rapidly accelerated due to the pandemic. According to the United Nations, “workers with limited digital skills will find themselves at a disadvantage compared to those who are better equipped for the digital economy.” From training students with early 20th century electronics to preparing learners today for digital era disciplines such as data and analytics, security, cloud and platform architecture, and digital health, DeVry leveraged its heritage to provide curriculum and programs that help students develop the interdisciplinary tech skills needed for future-ready careers.

“Ever since I started teaching mathematics at DeVry in 1975, the University has been an early adopter of new technology,” said Senior Professor Veronica Schreiber, DeVry’s longest-standing faculty member. “We’ve always piloted new technology, and this has allowed me to create new learning opportunities to help my students succeed. DeVry encourages and embraces innovation, embracing that the more tech tools we incorporate, the more ways we can help our students.”

About DeVry University

DeVry University strives to close society’s opportunity gap by preparing learners to thrive in careers shaped by continuous technological change. Founded in 1931, the university offers undergraduate and graduate programs onsite and online within six areas of study: Accounting, Business, Healthcare, Technology, Liberal Arts, and Media Arts & Technology. The university is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC, To learn more, visit


Anne Unger

DeVry University

Natalie Berkey

Communications Strategy Group

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