Academy of Art University

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Academy of Art University
Motto Built by artists for artists
Type for-profit
Established 1929
President Elisa Stephens
Students 15,212[1]
Undergraduates 9,117[2] – 10,044[1]
Postgraduates 4,674[3]
Location San Francisco, California, United States
Campus Urban and online
Colors Black and Red         
Athletics NCAA Division II for cross country, soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, golf, tennis, track and field
The New Montgomery Street building

The Academy of Art University, formerly Academy of Art College, is a privately owned for-profit art school in San Francisco, California, in the United States. It was founded as the Academy of Advertising Art by Richard S. Stephens in 1929.[4] It has 283 full-time teachers and 1154 part-time teaching staff, and about 15,000 students;[1] it claims to be the largest privately owned art and design school in the United States.[5]

The school is one of the largest property owners in San Francisco, with the main campus located on New Montgomery Street in the South of Market district.[6] Since 2007 the San Francisco city planning commission has held more than twenty hearings relating to possible violations of the land-use laws of the city, including the unauthorized conversion of rent-controlled housing to academic use;[7][8] in May 2016 the city brought a lawsuit against the school.[9]

History, accreditation and teaching[edit]

It was founded in 1929 as a school for advertising art.[10] The founder, Richard S. Stephens, a painter and magazine editor, lead it until 1951 when his son Richard A. Stephens took over, who 1992 was replaced by his daughter Elisa Stephens.[10] Under her presidency, student numbers increased from around 2000 to 18,000 by 2012.[11] A private bus fleet transports students between dorms and classrooms located across San Francisco.[11]

Academy of Art University received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in 2007.[12] The school is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.[13] In interior architecture and design, the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (taught or online) and Master of Fine Arts degree are both accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation.[14] The Master of Architecture degree has, since 2006, been accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.[15]

The school offers associate, bachelor's[2] and master's degrees in numerous subjects.[3]

Approximately 5% of students complete a four-year degree within the allotted time.[16] According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 31% of students complete a four-year degree within 150% of that time (the "6-year graduation rate").[1] For online-only students, the 6-year graduation rate is much lower, at 6%; in mid-2015, about 35% of all students were online-only.[17] For part-time students the 6-year graduation rate is 3%.[17]

About 58% of students are female.[18]


The school sports teams, the Urban Knights, compete as members of the Pacific West Conference in nine sports in NCAA Division II.[19]

In the 2014-2015 season, the men's cross country team had a second-place finish and the women's team had a record fourth-place finish, earned at the Pacific West Conference Championships. Valentin Pepiot, their third NCAA Nationals individual qualifier, was one of the top finishers from the PacWest in the postseason finale.[20] The Academy of Arts earned a record 10 PacWest postseason honors. For the 2015, indoor and outdoor track and field seasons, they had seven All-Americans honors and one NCAA individual champion in Jordan Edwards.[20]



Past and present staff of the school include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Academy of Art University. College Navigator. National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed June 2016.
  2. ^ a b Home: College Search: Academy of Art University. Peterson's. Accessed January 2014.
  3. ^ a b Home: Graduate Schools: Academy of Art University. Peterson's. Accessed January 2014.
  4. ^ "The Academy of Art University is a school with a soul". National Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved May 22, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Who We Are". Academy of Art University website. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
  6. ^ John Cote (November 15, 2010). "Academy of Art land use violations ignored". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
  7. ^ Lee, Vic. "SF suing Academy of Art University for alleged permit violations". ABC News. Retrieved June 23, 2016. 
  8. ^ Katia Savchuk (August 19, 2015). How A For-Profit University Flouts San Francisco's Land-Use Laws. Forbes. Archived August 20, 2015.
  9. ^ Vic Lee (May 6, 2016). SF suing Academy of Art University for alleged permit violations. ABC News. Accessed June 2016.
  10. ^ a b Brickman, Sophie (2011-05-22). "Elisa Stephens of Academy of Art University". SFGate. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2016-09-05. 
  11. ^ a b Lee Romney (July 9, 2012). "San Francisco rule would encourage building student housing". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 5, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Statement of accreditation status: Academy of Art University.". Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities, Western Association of Schools and Colleges. July 19, 2007. Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  13. ^ "Accredited Institutional Members". National Association of Schools of Art and Design. 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  14. ^ "Accredited Program History". Council for Interior Design Accreditation. Retrieved July 15, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Architecture programs: Academy of Art University". National Architectural Accrediting Board. 2006. Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  16. ^ "Academy of Art University". US News and World Report. Retrieved June 13, 2016. 
  17. ^ a b Katia Savchuk (September 7, 2015). Black Arts: The $800 Million Family Selling Art Degrees and False Hopes. Forbes magazine. Archived August 19, 2015.
  18. ^ "Academy of Art University". Peterson's. Retrieved June 13, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Academy of Art University". NCAA. Retrieved May 11, 2016. 
  20. ^ a b Garcia, Rob. "ART U Track & Field Announces New Coaching Staff". The PacWest. Retrieved May 22, 2016. 
  21. ^ 2015 Universiade bio
  22. ^ "Artworks of Henry Asencio". Crown Thorn Publishing. Retrieved January 24, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Legendary Star Wars Special Effects Makeup Artist Announces Retirement". Makeup Artist Edu. Retrieved May 22, 2016. 
  24. ^ "2009 Sonoma International Film Festival". ScreenDaily. Retrieved March 28, 2009. 
  25. ^ "Lauren Conrad Biography". People Magazine. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
  26. ^ a b Katie Baker (November 17, 2009). "Ask The Appeal: Does Academy Of Art University Have Any Notable Alumni?". San Francisco Appeal. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
  27. ^ "The 2005 Pulitzer prize winners – feature photography: Deanne Fitzmaurice.". The Pulitzer Prizes, Columbia University. Retrieved December 17, 2006. 
  28. ^ "Patricio Buenrostro Gilhuys". CENTRO. Retrieved September 9, 2014. 
  29. ^ Vicky Jenson. ACME Film Works. Accessed June 2016.
  30. ^ Dunhill, Heather. "Qs for Fashion Star's Kara Larick". Heather Dunhill's Fashion IQ. Sarasota Magazine. Retrieved May 17, 2012. 
  31. ^ Sarah Gish (March 20, 2012). "My essentials: Kara Laricks of 'Fashion Star'". Ink Magazine. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Chris Milk Official Site". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 7, 2008. 
  33. ^ "Heidi Montag". People Magazine. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
  34. ^ "Academy of Art's Epidemic Film Festival". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved September 2, 2014. 
  35. ^ "Guess What?: Rudi Soedjarwo: Leaving the old rules of movie making behind". Retrieved September 21, 2015. 
  36. ^ Susan King (August 26, 2009). "For Diane Baker, one scene leads to 50 years". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Tom Bertino". Nova Online. 1997. Retrieved September 2, 2014. 
  38. ^ "The Animated Side of Star Wars: An Interview With Rob Coleman, The Film's Animation Director". Animated World Network. August 1999. Retrieved September 2, 2014. 
  39. ^ "A Pair of Entrepreneurs Focuses on 'Nutrients for Your Brain'". WeWork. June 18, 2015. Retrieved June 18, 2015. 
  40. ^ "This Twenty-Something Ditched His Dream Job At Google And Now He Has A Startup That Sells Brain-Enhancing Pills". Business Insider. August 6, 2014. Retrieved June 18, 2015. 
  41. ^ "Q&A: "Evening Magazine" co-hosts Jan Yanehiro and Richard Hart". San Francisco Chronicle. July 22, 2010. Retrieved September 2, 2014. 
  42. ^ "Heebink's Notes - An Interview with John Heebink". Nick Fury. Retrieved June 13, 2016. 
  43. ^ "Sony Pictures to produce "Tehranis" by Director Kamshad Kushan". Payvand Iran News. Retrieved June 13, 2016. 
  44. ^ "Tim McGovern". Visual Effects Society. Retrieved June 13, 2016. 
  45. ^ "Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage". Discovery. Retrieved June 13, 2016. 
  46. ^ "Witzend - groundbreaking 1960s indy comic with art by Wallace Wood, Art Spiegelman, and Frank Frazetta". BoingBoing. August 13, 2014. Retrieved September 2, 2014. 
  47. ^ Hagan Cain, Robyn. "From London to San Francisco: Simon Ungless on Academy Life". San Francisco Racked. Retrieved June 13, 2016. 
  48. ^ "Artist Interview with Terryl Whitlatch". Copic. March 15, 2011. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
  49. ^ Josh Flynn (December 28, 2010). "Ready to Win". Slam Online. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
  50. ^ Peter Hartlaub (July 22, 2010). "Yanehiro, Hart now at Academy of Art in S.F.". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 

Coordinates: 37°47′16″N 122°24′02″W / 37.78785°N 122.40065°W / 37.78785; -122.40065