Adam Smith University

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Adam Smith University
Established 1991
Type unaccredited Private, Distance learning
President Donald Grunewald
Location Garapan, CNMI (U.S. commonwealth)

Adam Smith University (also known as Adam Smith University of Liberia and École Supérieure Universitaire Adam Smith) is an unaccredited[1] private distance learning university founded in 1991 by Donald Grunewald, who is still its president.[2] Grunewald, a onetime president of Mercy College, was reported in 2004 to be a business professor at Iona College.[3] The university espouses the principle of independence from state control, believing that such control prevents it from furthering its mission.[2]


John Bear states that Adam Smith University has been located in Hawaii, Louisiana, Montana, and South Dakota in the past.[4] However, in 2004 the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that Grunewald had always run the university from his home in Connecticut,[3] and throughout its history it has used an office address in a number of different United States states. The addresses moved as the states have successively tightened standards for degree-granting institutions that do not seek recognized accreditation.[3] These states have included Hawaii, Louisiana, Montana, and South Dakota.[3] Adam Smith's current American mailing address is a private mail box in Garapan on Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth.[2] The website of Training and Advanced Studies in Management and Communications, Ltd., an education business in India that claims affiliation with Adam Smith University, states that Adam Smith is now based in Saipan.[5] Adam Smith University also asserts the establishment of a French unit called École Supérieure Universitaire Adam Smith, which offers academic degrees for work experience.[6]

According to the university, it has been accredited by the Liberian Ministry of Education since 1995, well before the most recent conflicts, and was accredited as a result of an act of the Liberian legislature.[2][5] The institution makes no statement suggesting that it has a physical campus.[7]


Four states in the United States of America and Korea specifically list Adam Smith University as unaccredited.[1][8][9][10][11] At one time, Adam Smith used accreditation by the unrecognized agency World Association of Universities and Colleges, and later Grunewald participated in founding another unrecognized accreditor, the International Association of Universities and Schools, but both of these affiliations were terminated before 2004.[3] The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board identifies the institution as operating from Liberia and Saipan, but states that it has "no degree-granting authority from Liberia or Saipan."[1]

Without recognized accreditation, ASU's degrees and credits might not be acceptable to employers or other academic institutions, and use of degree titles may be restricted or illegal in some jurisdictions.[12] Jurisdictions that have restricted or made illegal the use of credentials from unaccredited schools include Oregon,[8][13] Michigan,[10] Maine,[9] North Dakota,[13] New Jersey,[13] Washington,[8][14] Nevada,[8][15] Illinois,[8] Indiana,[8] Texas[1][16] and Korea.[11] Many other states are also considering restrictions on the use of degrees from unaccredited institutions.[17]


Steve Levicoff referred to Adam Smith University as a degree mill, and he noted that it operated in Louisiana due to the absence of laws regulating the granting of degrees.[18] Adam Smith University and Columbia State University have the same address, which is "likely a mail forwarding address".[19]

Other critics have described Adam Smith University as a "diploma mill". Alan Contreras from the Oregon State Office of Degree Authorization (ODA), an agency of that state's government, called Adam Smith "a diploma mill with a long and unattractive history" in an article[20] written in a personal capacity. However, in 2005, he updated Adam Smith's listing on the ODA website to remove the term "diploma mill." This change followed the settlement of a lawsuit filed against ODA by the unaccredited Kennedy-Western University. Oregon has made it illegal to use in any professional context a degree from an institution not having what it judges to be the equivalent of regional accreditation in the USA. Adam Smith has refused to seek such accreditation, and consequently when its degrees are used in that state, it must be explicitly stated that the degree is unaccredited.(See reference for the legally required wording for the disclaimer.)[8]

It was reported by The Hindu that Vice-Chancellor of University of Mysore J. Sashidhara Prasad said of ASU, "Beware friends. It only had a tie-up with an institution in a tiny African country."[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Institutions Whose Degrees are Illegal to Use in Texas". Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Campus". Adam Smith University. Archived from the original on 21 November 2009. Retrieved December 30, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Psst. Wanna Buy a Ph.D.? Chronicle for Higher Education by Thomas Bartlett and Scott Smallwood, June 25, 2004
  4. ^ Bears' Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning, by John B. Bear, Ph.D. and Mariah P. Bear, M.A., 15th Edition, ISBN 1-58008-431-1
  5. ^ a b Training and Advanced Studies in Management and Communications, Ltd. website (accessed August 23, 2007)
  6. ^ École Supérieure Universitaire Adam Smith (page on the Adam Smith University website; accessed August 23, 2007)
  7. ^ "Campus". Adam Smith University. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Unaccredited Colleges, Oregon Office of Degree Authorization
  9. ^ a b Accredited and Non-Accredited Colleges and Universities, Maine’s List of Non-Accredited Post-Secondary Schools
  10. ^ a b Colleges and Universities not accredited by CHEA, Michigan Education and Children's Services
  11. ^ a b Guide to teaching English in Korea
  12. ^ Diploma Mills and Accreditation - Accreditation
  13. ^ a b c State mulls online learning by the Associated Press, Billings Gazette, January 30, 2005
  14. ^ Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board, Washington Consumer Information
  15. ^ Use of False or Misleading Degrees Nevada statute NRS 394.700
  16. ^ Two less doctors in the house - Hebert, Wilson back away from Ph.D.'s issued by ‘diploma mills', by Stephen Palkot, Fort Bend Herald, September 28, 2007
  17. ^ Is Oregon the only state that disallows use of unaccredited degrees? Oregon Office of Degree Authorization
  18. ^ Steve Levicoff. Name It and Frame It?. (3rd edition) Institute on Religion and Law. 1993 (page 111) ASIN B0006F1PCQ
  19. ^ Steve Levicoff. Name It and Frame It?. (3rd edition) Institute on Religion and Law. 1993 (page 111 and 119) ASIN B0006F1PCQ
  20. ^ International Higher Education # 32:4
  21. ^ Reporter's Diary, by Andhra Pradesh, The Hindu, September 05, 2006

External links[edit]