For 130 years, Southeastern University served the urban population of the greater Washington, DC community. Founded in 1879 by the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), the school offered a range of classes including French, mathematics, general education, religion, and business. In 1907, the Washington School of Accountancy was added, establishing that field as one of Southeastern’s specialties. Incorporation by the city government as the Southeastern University of the Young Men’s Christian Association of the District of Columbia followed in 1923. An August, 1937 act of Congress declared the name of the institution “Southeastern University” and provided a federal charter.
Over the last century, many areas were added to Southeastern’s curriculum: liberal arts, business, public administration, health services, and a wide variety of computer/technical programs, among others. The university offered associate, bachelor, and master’s degrees, as well as professional certificates. Innovative programs included the Center for Entrepreneurship/Continuing Education and the Center for Allied Health Education at Greater Southeast Community Hospital.
Throughout its history, Southeastern University emphasized its founders’ guiding purpose: to afford students a practical education. Its mission was to have a positive, direct impact on the economic development of the DC region by preparing residents for success in a competitive marketplace. Dedicated to empowering its students, Southeastern focused on providing underserved populations with access to educational opportunities.
Through our own work, the Graduate School is proud to commit to the guiding purpose of Southeastern’s founders. With our ninety-year history in the DC area and our longstanding engagement in providing innovative, accessible learning opportunities to the community, we are well positioned to maintain and support the goals and mission of this historic institution.