Adam Smith University

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Adam Smith University
Typeunaccredited Private, Distance learning
PresidentDonald Grunewald
LocationGarapan, 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 Dr. Donald Grunewald (MA Harvard 1955, MBA Harvard 1959, DBA Harvard 1962), who is still its president.[2] Grunewald was president of Mercy College between 1972 and 1984. Since 1984 Grunewald is professor of Management at the Hagan School of Business at Iona College, teaching courses in Business Policy and Strategic Management (source: Iona college). Grunewald served as a Member of Advisory Board of The Wilton Bank (source: Bloomberg). Adam Smith 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.[3] However, in 2004 the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that Grunewald had always run the university from his home in Connecticut,[4] 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.[4] These states have included Hawaii, Louisiana, Montana, and South Dakota.[4] 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] Adam Smith University asserts the establishment of a French unit called École Supérieure Universitaire Adam Smith, which offers academic degrees for work experience.[5]

According to a letter of the Director General of the Liberian Ministry of Education of 17 September 2004,[6] Adam Smith University 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] The institution makes no statement suggesting that it has a physical campus.[7]


Adam Smith University is accredited by the republic of San Marino as a recognized Higher Educational Institution [8] on 18 November 2009.

Four states in the United States of America and Korea specifically list Adam Smith University as unaccredited.[1][9][10][11][12] 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.[4] 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.[13] Jurisdictions that have restricted or made illegal the use of credentials from unaccredited schools include Oregon,[9][14] Michigan,[11] Maine,[10] North Dakota,[14] New Jersey,[14] Washington,[9][15] Nevada,[9][16] Illinois,[9] Indiana,[9] Texas[1][17] and Korea.[12] Many other states are also considering restrictions on the use of degrees from unaccredited institutions.[18]


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.[19] Adam Smith University and Columbia State University have the same address, which is "likely a mail forwarding address".[20]

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[21] 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.)[9]

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."[22]

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. ^ 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
  4. ^ a b c d Degree Discussion
  5. ^ École Supérieure Universitaire Adam Smith (page on the Adam Smith University website; accessed August 23, 2007)
  6. ^ [1] Letter by the Director General of the Liberian Ministry of Education of 17 September 2004
  7. ^ "Campus". Adam Smith University. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  8. ^ Certificate San Marino
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Unaccredited Colleges Archived 2012-10-05 at the Wayback Machine., Oregon Office of Degree Authorization
  10. ^ a b Accredited and Non-Accredited Colleges and Universities, Maine’s List of Non-Accredited Post-Secondary Schools
  11. ^ a b Colleges and Universities not accredited by CHEA Archived 2011-06-28 at the Wayback Machine., Michigan Education and Children's Services
  12. ^ a b Guide to teaching English in Korea Archived 2008-04-07 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ Diploma Mills and Accreditation - Accreditation
  14. ^ a b c State mulls online learning Archived 2008-01-15 at the Wayback Machine. by the Associated Press, Billings Gazette, January 30, 2005
  15. ^ Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board Archived 2008-01-06 at the Wayback Machine., Washington Consumer Information
  16. ^ Use of False or Misleading Degrees Nevada statute NRS 394.700
  17. ^ 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
  18. ^ Is Oregon the only state that disallows use of unaccredited degrees? Archived 2012-04-01 at the Wayback Machine. Oregon Office of Degree Authorization
  19. ^ Steve Levicoff. Name It and Frame It?. (3rd edition) Institute on Religion and Law. 1993 (page 111) ASIN B0006F1PCQ
  20. ^ Steve Levicoff. Name It and Frame It?. (3rd edition) Institute on Religion and Law. 1993 (page 111 and 119) ASIN B0006F1PCQ
  21. ^ International Higher Education # 32:4 Archived 2005-05-04 at the Wayback Machine.
  22. ^ Reporter's Diary, by Andhra Pradesh, The Hindu, September 05, 2006

External links[edit]