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University of Silicon Valley

Coordinates: 37°24′49″N 121°56′28″W / 37.413627°N 121.941034°W / 37.413627; -121.941034
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University of Silicon Valley
Former name
Cogswell Technical School (1887–1930)
Cogswell Polytechnical College (1930–2021)
TypePrivate university
EstablishedMarch 19, 1887; 137 years ago (March 19, 1887)[1][2]
ChancellorCharles House
Chief Executive OfficerCharles Restivo
Academic staff
11 full-time
64 part-time
Students434 (Fall 2021)[3]
Undergraduates425 (Fall 2021)[3]
Postgraduates9 (Fall 2021)[3]
Location, ,
United States
ColorsGreen and Blue   

The University of Silicon Valley (USV) is a private for-profit university in San Jose, California, in Silicon Valley. Founded in 1887 as Cogswell Technical School, and later known as Cogswell Polytechnical College. It was the first technical training institution in the Western United States and one of only two private universities, along with Stanford University, that were originally guaranteed a tax exemption in the Californian Constitution.[2][4] USV is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.[5][6] Programs at Cogswell range from digital media to engineering, with an emphasis on digital animation, audio and music production, and video game design.


The former Cogswell College campus in 1905.

The University of Silicon Valley was founded as a high school on March 19, 1887, by Henry D. Cogswell in San Francisco. It opened in August 1888, offering technical classes for boys and business classes for girls. On June 30, 1930, it became a technical college. It was the first technical training institution in the Western United States.[7][2]

The original campus building was occupied in 1888 in the Mission District in San Francisco. When the 1906 earthquake partially destroyed the campus, the College relocated across the street to an existing home. After the City of San Francisco purchased some of the land by eminent domain in 1917, a new building was constructed at Folsom Street and 26th Street in San Francisco to house the school.

In 1974, having outgrown the existing campus, the college moved to a location at Stockton and California Streets. In 1985, it moved to Cupertino,[8] where it remained until 1994 (its old San Francisco building became a Ritz Carlton hotel).[9] In 1993, the college purchased a campus in Sunnyvale, which it moved to in 1994.[10] This campus was sold in 2012, and in 2015 the college moved to a leased building in San Jose.[8]

Modern history[edit]

In 2010 the college was acquired by Palm Ventures, a private equity firm.[11][12] The following year Charles "Chuck" House, executive director of the Media X program at Stanford University, became chancellor.[13] Deborah Snyder was appointed president of the college in 2014.[14] As of 2018, the current Chief Executive Officer is Charles Restivo.[citation needed] As a result of the acquisition, the college lost its original property tax exemption as a non-profit institution.[4]

In April 2021, the university formally took the name of "University of Silicon Valley", referring to the local high-technology growth of Silicon Valley.[15]


USV's campus in the Innovation Triangle neighborhood of San Jose
The Enso, located next to the USV campus on Baypointe Parkway, is used for student housing.[16]

The University of Silicon Valley offers the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Science (B.S.), and Master of Arts (M.A.) degrees and specializes in digital animation, video game design and audio & music production[13][17]

Its computer graphics degree program is the longest-running in the Bay Area. It includes Project X, an invitation-only animated film production course that approximates the experience of interning in the industry, and MediaWorks, an audio-visual concepting and production course, which has been running continuously since 2013.[18][better source needed] MediaWorks facilitates student learning via national and international collaborations between students and professional organizations in a fast-paced, competitive production setting, imitating the environment and work ethic of the media production industries.[19][20][21]

In November 2007, USV announced the addition of a minor in business management.[22] In January 2011 Cogswell started its entrepreneurship program;[23] it expanded this in 2012 into the first Master's program in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.[24]


The University of Silicon Valley is located in San Jose, California, in Silicon Valley. USV's campus is located in the Innovation Triangle district in North San Jose, near the headquarters of Samsung and Cisco. Student housing is spread across North San Jose.[25]

Student outcomes[edit]

According to the College Scorecard, the school has a 46% 8-year graduation rate.[26] In 2021, the median salary after attending was $61,619.[27]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ California Legislature, Journal: Appendix. Reports, Volume 5, 1888, p. 247.
  2. ^ a b c Bevk, Alex (2013-05-06). "The West's First Technical School was Once Part of the Mission". Curbed SF. Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  3. ^ a b c "College Navigator – University of Silicon Valley".
  4. ^ a b Belcher, D., And Belcher, M. "Constitutionally Suspect Special Property Tax Exemptions,"SCOCAblog, May 9, 2018. http://scocablog.com/constitutionally-suspect-special-property-tax-exemptions/
  5. ^ Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities, Statement of Accreditation Status: Cogswell Polytechnical College Archived 2013-02-12 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2013-03-27.
  6. ^ Cogswell Polytechnical College: Accreditation and Affiliations Archived 2007-10-14 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ California Legislature, Journal: Appendix. Reports, Volume 5, 1888, p. 247.
  8. ^ a b Nathan Donato-Weinstein, "Cogswell College finally chooses a new home", Silicon Valley Business Journal, June 24, 2015, updated June 25, 2015.
  9. ^ Historical San Francisco Hotels
  10. ^ "The History of Cogswell College" Archived 2011-08-12 at the Wayback Machine, Cogswell College, retrieved May 24, 2011.
  11. ^ Donato-Weinstein, Nathan (2013-12-06). "Will Cogswell College stay in Silicon Valley? School hunts for new home". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  12. ^ "O'Brien: Cogswell College may be Silicon Valley's geekiest secret". The Mercury News. 2011-11-03. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  13. ^ a b Chris O'Brien, "Cogswell College may be Silicon Valley's geekiest secret", The Oakland Tribune, November 5, 2011, archived copy; at DailyMarkets.com, November 17, 2011.
  14. ^ "Sunnyvale shorts: Cogswell College names new president", Sunnyvale Sun, San Jose Mercury News, June 25, 2014.
  15. ^ Yahoo Finance! - Cogswell University of Silicon Valley Announces New Name
  16. ^ Annual Security Report 2015
  17. ^ Jonathan Miller, "Videogame U: IGN heads back to school to examine a university specializing in videogame design. Your dream now comes with a syllabus," Cube, IGN, April 3, 2007.
  18. ^ Alia Wilson, "Digital Hogwarts: Cogswell celebrates college's 125th anniversary," The Sunnyvale Sun, Silicon Valley Community Newspapers, June 8, 2012, pp. 20+.
  19. ^ Jackson, Norman (June 2017). "How does MediaWorks work?" (PDF). Creative Academic Magazine. Retrieved 2020-12-21.
  20. ^ Wolfe, Jennifer (2014-08-20). "Cogswell MediaWorks Celebrates First Anniversary". Animation World Network. Retrieved 2020-12-21.
  21. ^ Randi Altman (2016-01-14). "Animated TEDxVail trailer created by Cogswell MediaWorks students". postPerspective. Retrieved 2020-12-21.
  22. ^ "Cogswell business management minor announcement". Archived from the original on 2007-12-07. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
  23. ^ "Cogswell College Creates BA Degree for Entrepreneurs in Digital Media,"] Entertainment Close-Up, July 14, 2010, archived copy.
  24. ^ Cogswell College of Silicon Valley | Masters In Entrepreneurship & Innovation Archived 2014-03-04 at the Wayback Machine from Cogswell College website
  25. ^ University of Silicon Valley - Student Housing
  26. ^ "College Scorecard". collegescorecard.ed.gov. US Department of Education. Retrieved 17 July 2023.
  27. ^ "College Scorecard". collegescorecard.ed.gov. US Department of Education. Retrieved 11 December 2021.

External links[edit]

37°24′49″N 121°56′28″W / 37.413627°N 121.941034°W / 37.413627; -121.941034