Golden Gate University

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Golden Gate University
Golden Gate University Seal.jpg
Former names
YMCA Evening College (1901–1923)
Golden Gate College (1923–1972)
MottoCivium in moribus rei publicae salus (Latin)
Motto in English
The welfare of the state depends upon the morals of its citizens
Established1901; 121 years ago (1901)
Endowment$40.3 million (2020)[1]
PresidentDavid J. Fike
Academic staff
Location, ,
United States
ColorsBlue and White   
AffiliationsWestern Association of Schools and Colleges

Golden Gate University (GGU or Golden Gate) is a private, non-profit university in San Francisco, California. Founded in 1901, GGU specializes in educating professionals through its schools of law, business, taxation, and accounting. The university offers six undergraduate degrees with 11 concentrations and 15 graduate degrees with 24 concentrations.[4]


GGU Campus

The university evolved out of the literary reading groups of the San Francisco Central YMCA at a time when, according to one contemporary estimate, only one of every two thousand men had a college education.[5] GGU shares its YMCA roots with a number of other U.S. universities, including Bentley University, Capital University Law School, Michigan State University College of Law, Northeastern University (Boston, Massachusetts), Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law, Roosevelt University, South Texas College of Law, University of Toledo College of Law, Western New England University, and Youngstown State University. On November 1, 1881 at the YMCA building at 232 Sutter Street, which the organization had occupied since 1868, the YMCA Night School was established. Classes were offered in bookkeeping, mathematics, stenography, elocution, Spanish and gymnastics.[6] Successful completion of these courses led to a certificate that was recognized by more than 100 colleges and trade schools. Other offerings of the association would include a common school for boys. In April 1894 the YMCA moved to a new five-story building at the northeast corner of Mason and Ellis Streets.[7]

West Wing of GGU's SF Campus

The night school was renamed the Evening College on October 1, 1896, and became a full-fledged operation in 1901 with the creation of a law school. The law school was the first of the Y's educational departments to offer a full degree-level course, and thus the university traces its founding to the law school's establishment. Courses in Accountancy and Business Administration leading to the degree of Bachelor of Commercial Science began in 1908. Later, courses in foreign trade were added. The YMCA building was destroyed in the fire that followed the 1906 earthquake. Following the earthquake, the school was conducted out of tents, and later leased space at 1220 Geary St. (now Geary Boulevard near Franklin Street in the Western Addition). In November 1910 the school moved into the YMCA's new building (closed in 2009) at 220 Golden Gate Avenue at Leavenworth Street, in the Tenderloin neighborhood.[8]

A student contest in 1927 resulted in the adoption of the new name Golden Gate, originally suggested by law student Charles H. Pool Jr. (1895–1977) (LLB 1925) because contest judges thought it symbolized "romantic California."[9] The institution was separately incorporated from the Central YMCA on May 18, 1923, as Golden Gate College with the power to confer degrees as California law then provided.[10] The college became fully independent of the YMCA in 1962; however, the "Y" contributed members to the school's Board of Trustees for some time thereafter.[11]

The college continued to share the YMCA's building until June 1968, when it moved into the Allyne Building, a warehouse at 536 Mission Street originally built in 1924 as the showroom and wholesale department of Sherman Clay, a large retailer of pianos, records, record players, and other musical instruments.[12] The college had purchased the building at auction in April 1964, and the Law School had occupied the first two floors since December 1964.[13][14]

In 1972, the college expanded and elevated itself to university status. In 1979, a new "west wing" of the university was completed, where most of the classroom space is located today.


Golden Gate University is primarily a post-graduate institution focused on professional training in law and business, with its smaller undergraduate programs linked to its larger graduate and professional schools.

Its five schools, with the year a university degree was first offered in the academic discipline, are as follows:

Golden Gate University School of Law was founded in 1901. The School of Law offers the JD, LLM and JSD (Doctor of Juridical Science) degrees, while the Ageno School of Business offers the degrees of BA, BS, MS, MBA, PMBA, and DBA (Doctor of Business Administration).

The Braden School of Taxation offers an MS in Taxation and the School of Accounting offers the MAc (Master of Accountancy).


At its incorporation as a separate institution from the YMCA in 1923, the college governance was divided between a four-member (increased to nine members in 1948) Board of Governors, which ran educational programs of the college including the conferral of degrees, and a five-member Board of Trustees to hold the college property. The appointments of the Director, Governors and trustees were made by the San Francisco YMCA. A 1948 reorganization raised the Director of Education to President, the incumbent Director, Nagel T. Miner (since 1931), becoming President. In September 1949 the Board of Governors and Board of Trustees were merged, with all current trustees retiring, and the members of the Board of Governors being elected onto the Board of Trustees, which had 14 members out of a possible maximum of 21 members.

Currently, the university is managed by a self-sustaining Board of Trustees of between 20 and 47 members. Trustees serve 3-year terms with one-third up for election annually. The president of the university and the president of the Alumni Association hold voting seats on the Board. Additionally there are four non-voting ex officio members, the President of the Student Government, the President of the Student Bar Association (law school student government); the President of the University Faculty Senate, and the Chair of the Law Faculty. The trustees are selected from the worlds of business, law, accounting, taxation and philanthropy.[16] Since 2003 the majority of trustees have been alumni of the university. Of the current trustees all but two have at least one academic degree (excluding honorary degrees) from GGU.[17]

Day-to-day operation of the university is in the hands of a president, five vice-presidents and the deans of the four schools (Accounting, Business, Law and Taxation).


Prior to 1948, the top executive was called the Educational Director.

No. Name Term
1. Arthur A. Macurda 1901–14[18][19]
2. Archie R. Mack 1914–31[18][19]
3. Nagel T. Miner 1931–58[18][19][20]
4. Russell T. Sharpe 1958–70[21]
5. Otto W. Butz 1970–92[22]
6. Thomas M. Stauffer 1992–99[23]
7. Philip Friedman 1999–2007[24]
8. Dan Angel 2007–15[25]
9. David J. Fike 2015–present[26]


Golden Gate University has been accredited on an institution-wide basis by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) since 1959. It had previously been accredited by what is now the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities since 1950.[27] Additionally, the School of Law has been accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) since August 1956 and the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California since 1940 (standards for accreditation having been adopted in 1937).[28] The Law School is also a member of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). The university's financial planning program is registered with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards[29] and students completing either the master's in Financial Planning or the graduate certificate in financial planning qualify to sit for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification exam.


GGU shown at night--second building on the right (the taller building behind is the Chase Bank)

The GGU campus is located in the Financial District of San Francisco. It maintains satellite teaching/learning sites in the following locations:

  • The Los Angeles learning site was established in the 1970s and offers graduate degrees in taxation through the Braden School of Taxation and the School of Law.
  • The Silicon Valley learning site offers graduate programs in business and public administration.
  • The Seattle learning site (opened in 1974) is the only one located outside of California. It offers programs in taxation.

Online programs[edit]

Golden Gate first offered distance education programs in 1993 via correspondence, online courses in 1997, then began offering fully accredited online degree programs in 1998. Online offerings include 13 graduate degrees, two undergraduate degrees, seven graduate certificates, and 10 undergraduate certificates, all of which can be completed entirely online.[30] GGU's Online program is rated #89 in U.S. News & World Report's list of the Top Online Graduate Business Programs,[31] while the online bachelor's program was ranked #63 out of 1,200 programs evaluated.[32] GGU currently uses the Moodle online learning platform to manage and deliver course content.


Roughly 67 percent of students who attend Golden Gate University are in graduate business programs, 12 percent are in undergraduate programs and 21 percent are law students. In 2019, more than 80% of the student population comes from South, and South-Central Asia.


  • US News & World Report Ranked GGU's online bachelor's program #63 out of 1,200 programs evaluated[32]
  • Washington Monthly Ranked GGU #1 on its list of Best Colleges for Adult Learners three years in a row (2016, 2017, 2018)[33]
  • TaxTalent ranked Golden Gate University the highest-regarded MS Tax program in the United States along with DePaul University, which tied for first place. The results were based on the responses of 127 heads of corporate tax departments across the country.[34]
  • As of December 2016, the Ageno School of Business was ranked 226 on the Social Science Research Network's list of the Top 500 U.S. Business Schools.[35] The ranking is based on both the volume and impact of the faculty's scholarly output.[36]

Notable alumni and faculty[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  2. ^ GGU by the Numbers, GGU Magazine, July 13, 2011 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 16, 2011. Retrieved September 11, 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Golden Gate University". Archived from the original on July 16, 2007.
  4. ^ "Degrees & Certificates". Retrieved July 7, 2012.
  5. ^ "Law for Busy Men". San Francisco Call. September 6, 1902.
  6. ^ "For Young Men Only: Thirteenth Season at the Young Men's Christian Association". The (San Francisco, Calif.) Morning Call (p. 8 col. 6). October 31, 1893. {{cite news}}: |format= requires |url= (help)
  7. ^ "Light of Learning May Shine for All" (p. 5 col. 6). The (San Francisco, Calif.) Morning Call. September 6, 1899.
  8. ^ "Educational Section of Y.M.C.A. To Open" (PDF). San Francisco Call. September 9, 1909.
  9. ^ Miner, Nagel T. (1983). The Golden Gate University Story, Volume 1. San Francisco 94105: Golden Gate University Press. p. 14. ISBN 0-943844-01-0. The author was the president of GGU from 1931 to 1958.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  10. ^ History of Higher Educational Annual 2001. p. 62.
  11. ^ "MOST OF A CENTURY: LAW AND PUBLIC SERVICE, 1930s TO 1990s". Transcript of Oral History by Louis H. Heilbron. October 28, 1992.
  12. ^ "Sherman, Clay & Co. Now Occupying New Wholesale Building in San Francisco" (PDF). Music Trade Review. May 24, 1924. p. 45.
  13. ^ Sharpe, Russell T. (1990). The Golden Gate University Story, Volume 2. San Francisco 94105: Golden Gate University Press. p. 272. ISBN 0-943844-02-9. The author was the president of GGU from 1958 through 1970.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  14. ^ "Golden Gate University's place in San Francisco history" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 13, 2011. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  15. ^ "Supply Chain Programs". Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  16. ^ "Executive Summary, Golden Gate University CFEA Bond Issue" (PDF). State Treasurer of California. June 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 9, 2010.
  17. ^ "Golden Gate University Elects New Officers to Board of Trustees; New Officers, New Members -- Mostly GGU Alumni". Businesswire. November 5, 2002.
  18. ^ a b c Miner, Nagel (1982). "The Law School 1930-1941". Golden Gate University School of Law. pp. Chapter 7 in: The Golden Gate University Story, Volume One, pp. 69–82. (Golden Gate University Press, 1982.). Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  19. ^ a b c Miner, Nagel (1982). "The Law School 1944-1950". Golden Gate University School of Law. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  20. ^ "Celebrating 100 Years". Golden Gate University School of Law. 2001. pp. Digital Commons: Articles About GGU Law. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  21. ^ "Russell T. Sharpe; Former President of Golden Gate University". Los Angeles Times. April 20, 1992. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  22. ^ Butz, Otto W.; Butz, Velia; Donnelly, Nisa (2008). "The Law School Comes of Age (1970-1992)". Golden Gate University School of Law. p. Chapter 7 in: Voyage of Discovery, A History of Golden Gate University, Volume III 1970–1992, pp. 153–193. (Golden Gate University Press, 2008). Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  23. ^ Chiang, Harriet (April 3, 1999). "Golden Gate University President Resigns / Board of trustees names successor to beleaguered chief". SFGate. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  24. ^ "Philip Friedman, PhD". Golden Gate University. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  25. ^ Examiner Staff (January 12, 2007). "Dan Angel: New president at Golden Gate University". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  26. ^ "Dr. David J. Fike Named Seventh President of Golden Gate University". Golden Gate University. May 4, 2015. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  27. ^ Drury, Clifford Merill (1963). San Francisco YMCA: 100 years by the Golden Gate, 1853–1953.
  28. ^ "Law". Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  29. ^ "Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. - List of CFP Board-Registered Programs". November 12, 2007. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
  30. ^ "Degrees & Certificates". Retrieved July 7, 2012.
  31. ^ "Student Services and Technology | Top Online MBA and Business Program Rankings". US News. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
  32. ^ a b "Rankings". Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  33. ^ "Ranking America's best colleges for adult learners". Washington Monthly. September/October 2016. August 29, 2016. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  34. ^ "2013 MS Tax Report" (PDF). Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  35. ^ "Social Science Research Network (SSRN) Home Page". SSRN. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  36. ^ "Social Science Research Network (SSRN) Ranking Data Explained". SSRN. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
  37. ^ "Michael Flynn's reputation: Astute intelligence pro, straight talker". Boston Globe. November 18, 2016. Retrieved December 9, 2016.

External links[edit]

37°47′21″N 122°23′56″W / 37.78923°N 122.3988°W / 37.78923; -122.3988