Cogswell Polytechnical College

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Cogswell Polytechnical College
Cogswell Polytechnical College logo.jpg
TypePrivate University
Chief Executive OfficerCharles Restivo
Administrative staff
73 full-time
53 part-time[1]
Undergraduates483 full-time
128 part-time[1]
Location, ,
ColorsOrange and Silver         

Cogswell Polytechnical College is a private college located in San Jose, California. It holds accreditation through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).[2][3] Cogswell had a student body of 315 full-time and 148 part-time students in 2013.[1] Programs at Cogswell range from Digital Media to Engineering, with emphasis on digital animation and video game design. Cogswell Polytechnical College was the first technical training institution in the West.[4] Cogswell is the only for-profit institution of education that holds a California constitutional tax exemption.[5]


Cogswell College was founded as a high school on March 19, 1887, by Dr. and Mrs. Henry 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 West.[6][4]

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,[7] where it remained until 1994 (its old San Francisco building became a Ritz Carlton hotel).[8] In 1993, the college purchased a campus in Sunnyvale, which it moved to in 1994.[9] This campus was sold in 2012, and in 2015 the college moved to a leased building in San Jose.[7]

In 2010 Cogswell was acquired by Palm Ventures, a private equity firm.[10][11] The following year Charles "Chuck" House, executive director of the Media X program at Stanford University, became chancellor.[12] Deborah Snyder was appointed president of the college in 2014.[13] As of 2018, the current Chief Executive Officer is Charles Restivo.


About 24% of the student population are women.[14] The student to faculty ratio for Fall 2010 was 7:1.[14]

Cogswell offers the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Science (B.S.), and Master of Arts (M.A.) degrees.

Cogswell specializes in digital animation and video game design.[12][15] 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.[16][17]

In November 2007 Cogswell announced the addition of a minor in business management.[18] In January 2011 Cogswell started its Entrepreneurship program;[19] it expanded this in 2012 into the first Master's program in Entrepreneurship & Innovation.[20]


Ryan Page, a Cogswell student, won first place in the 2007 SIGGRAPH SPACE-TIME Student Animation competition in the category of Storytelling/Narrative with his film MacGuffin's Night Out.[21][22]

Anton Delfino, a Cogswell student, won for “Best Editing” for his film Cereal Monogamy at Columbia University's National Undergraduate Film Festival in 2007.[23][24]

Worlds Apart, an 8-minute film created by a Project X student cohort, has won 23 awards.[16][25][26] The previous year's film, The Offering, also won several awards and was screened in June 2010 as part of the New York City Downtown Short Film Festival Audience Choice Screenings and in August 2010 at the New York City International Film Festival.[12][27]



  1. ^ a b c "College facts". Archived from the original on 2014-02-26. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Cogswell Polytechnical College: Accreditation and Affiliations Archived 2007-10-14 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b Bevk, Alex (2013-05-06). "The West's First Technical School was Once Part of the Mission". Curbed SF. Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  5. ^ Belcher, D., And Belcher, M. "Constitutionally Suspect Special Property Tax Exemptions,"SCOCAblog, May 9, 2018.
  6. ^ California Legislature, Journal: Appendix. Reports, Volume 5, 1888, p. 247.
  7. ^ a b Nathan Donato-Weinstein, "Cogswell College finally chooses a new home", Silicon Valley Business Journal, June 24, 2015, updated June 25, 2015.
  8. ^ Historical San Francisco Hotels
  9. ^ "The History of Cogswell College" Archived 2011-08-12 at the Wayback Machine, Cogswell College, retrieved May 24, 2011.
  10. ^ Donato-Weinstein, Nathan (2013-12-06). "Will Cogswell College stay in Silicon Valley? School hunts for new home". Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  11. ^ "O'Brien: Cogswell College may be Silicon Valley's geekiest secret". The Mercury News. 2011-11-03. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  12. ^ a b c Chris O'Brien, "Cogswell College may be Silicon Valley's geekiest secret", The Oakland Tribune, November 5, 2011, online at Highbeam (subscription required); at, November 17, 2011.
  13. ^ "Sunnyvale shorts: Cogswell College names new president", Sunnyvale Sun, San Jose Mercury News, June 25, 2014.
  14. ^ a b "Facts About Cogswell College". Archived from the original on 2011-02-18. Retrieved 2011-03-25.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ a b Alia Wilson, "Digital Hogwarts: Cogswell celebrates college's 125th anniversary," The Sunnyvale Sun, Silicon Valley Community Newspapers, June 8, 2012, pp. 20+.
  17. ^ Michael Z. Huber, Project X Archived 2012-06-15 at the Wayback Machine, Cogswell Polytechnical College.
  18. ^ "Cogswell business management minor announcement". Archived from the original on 2007-12-07. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
  19. ^ "Cogswell College Creates BA Degree for Entrepreneurs in Digital Media,"] Entertainment Close-Up, July 14, 2010, online at Highbeam, subscription required.
  20. ^ Cogswell College of Silicon Valley | Masters In Entrepreneurship & Innovation Archived 2014-03-04 at the Wayback Machine from Cogswell College website
  21. ^ SIGGRAPH winners Archived 2008-01-19 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Cogswell SIGGRAPH announcement". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-06-30.
  23. ^ Film Festival Article Archived 2007-06-13 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ Official Columbia University Film Festival awards list
  25. ^ "Worlds Apart Honored at Two Prestigious Film Festivals". Business Wire. December 5, 2011. Retrieved August 15, 2015. Worlds Apart .... had a big night on Saturday, November 19, 2011, when it was recognized by both the Bristol Encounters International Film Festival in the UK and the Miami Short Film Festival.
  26. ^ Worlds Apart Archived 2012-06-15 at the Wayback Machine, Cogswell Polytechnical College, retrieved June 14, 2012.
  27. ^ "New York City Film Festivals Welcome Cogswell College Film", Business Wire, June 15, 2010.

External links[edit]

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