73 Years Strong: On a Mission to Do More

By Reese Radmacher January 9, 2024

A Legacy of Changing Education for the Better

We took a big step toward a brighter future—both for our students and for our institution—by joining the University of Arkansas System. As University of Arkansas Grantham, we’re better positioned to achieve our mission of providing more for our students. 2024 also marks the 73rd anniversary of our founding, making this the perfect moment to celebrate the milestones which have helped us become a pioneer in online learning.

Founded to Make a Difference

With the advent of the G.I. Bill®, World War II veteran Donald Grantham seized an opportunity to help fellow servicemembers find their place in post-war American society. He founded the Grantham Radio License School in Los Angeles, California, to help them develop in-demand skills for a growing, thriving market.

Soon after, Grantham made an even greater impact by changing its name to Grantham School of Electronics and opening campus locations and labs across the country in Seattle, Washington, Kansas City, Missouri, Washington, D.C., Falls Church, Virginia, and Dania, Florida.

Recognized, Accredited, Transformed

In 1961, the school gained accreditation status from the Distance Education and Training Council (now the Distance Education Accrediting Commission or DEAC)—an accreditation the university has maintained to this day.

As time passed and the demand for more diverse educational needs became apparent another name change transpired —Grantham College of Engineering—and was consolidated to one Los Angeles location in 1968. Three years later, the engineering college moved once more to Falls Church and began offering associate degree programs. Five years later, residential operations closed and the college shifted its concentration to a distance education format. Then, a year later in 1977, it began offering an accredited Bachelor of Science in Electronics.

More Programs, More Progress

In the 80s, Grantham College of Electronics continued to expand its offerings, including the Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology. In the 90s, the college moved operations to Louisiana and expanded programmatic offerings to include a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. As the millennia rolled in, so too did a number of offerings and opportunities, including the creation of a military scholarship program in 2001.

Just one year later, Grantham University became the new name as it launched a business school to go along with the College of Engineering. Two years later, the College of Arts and Sciences would come into being. During this time, the university expanded its online degree program options with more undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the university’s Louisiana campus, which accelerated the opening and eventual relocation of offices to Kansas City, Missouri. Seemingly overnight, university employees began meeting the needs of thousands of online students from a new location—implementing new infrastructure, and overcoming academic and transitional challenges as they continued coming to terms with the devastating weather event.

This time served to define the resilience, character, and passion of an educational force for good—a force that embodies the true spirit of our founder Donald Grantham, whose mission was to serve his fellow veterans.

Post-Katrina Moves to a Brighter Future

Over the better part of the next two decades, Grantham University moved its operations from Kansas City, Missouri to an area suburb in Lenexa, Kansas. It began enrolling Title IV students and expanding opportunities for students outside of the military. During this time, a new college was implemented in nursing and health professions. Grantham University worked with government agencies and local community organizations to offer even more programs and opportunities for education and better living.

Grantham was recognized for those efforts, receiving more than 100 awards and honors by nationally known organizations—from top rankings as a veteran-friendly school by U.S. Veterans Magazine and Best for Vets by Military Times, to a top 10 listing on Ingram’s 2019 Top Private Colleges and Universities. Grantham University has also been recognized as a Military Friendly School for 13 consecutive years.

UA Grantham Today

The past few years have been challenging, especially in higher education, but University of Arkansas Grantham remains committed to serving those who serve and those who strive to make a difference in their communities. The last 73 years have provided a strong foundation for the resiliency needed to support our students as they strive for more.

Now stronger than ever before, UA Grantham is an integral piece of the UA System puzzle, serving as its only 100% online institution and providing more opportunities backed by the support of more than 22 high-quality campuses, divisions and units.

Are you ready to learn more? We’d love to talk to you about how we can serve you and your goals. Get in touch with us today!

About the Author

Reese Radmacher
Reese Radmacher, communications coordinator, has been with University of Arkansas Grantham since early 2021. A college graduate herself, Reese appreciates the value of higher education and relates to the student perspective. In 2019, Reese earned her bachelor’s degree in mass media from Missouri State University where she worked as a reporter for The Standard Newspaper, and then as a freelance writer for 417 Magazine.
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