Grand Canyon University

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Grand Canyon University
Former names
Grand Canyon College
Motto Find Your Purpose
Type For-profit
Established 1949
Religious affiliation
(historically Southern Baptist)
President Brian Mueller
Administrative staff
Students 14,500 (on-campus)
60,700 (on-line)
75,200 (total)[1]
Location 3300 W. Camelback Rd.
, Arizona, U.S.
Campus Urban
Newspaper GCU Today
Colors Purple, Black, White[2]
Athletics NCAA Division I
Nickname Antelopes ("Lopes")
Mascot Thunder the Antelope
Grand Canyon University logo.png

Grand Canyon University (commonly referred to as GCU or Grand Canyon) is a for-profit Christian research university[3] in Phoenix, Arizona, in the United States.

Founded in 1949 as a non-profit liberal arts college, the university was purchased by Grand Canyon Education, Inc. (NASDAQLOPE) in February 2004. The university is the first, and only for-profit, to participate in NCAA Division 1 athletics.[4] As a non-profit, the university had briefly participated in NCAA Division 1 athletics, from 1995 to 1998, winning several conference titles.

Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission,[5] the university offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctorial degree programs in education, liberal arts, business, science, engineering, math, Christian theology, and health care through its eight colleges.[6] The university does not offer two year degrees programs.

The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education classifies GCU as a research university with moderate research activity.


The college was founded as a nonprofit institution in 1949 in Prescott. Arizona Southern Baptists felt the need to establish a faith-based institution that would allow local Baptists the opportunity to obtain a bachelor's or master's degree without going east to one of the Baptist colleges in Texas or Oklahoma. On October 8, 1951, Grand Canyon College relocated to its current location in Phoenix.[7]

Suffering financial and other difficulties in the early part of the 21st century, the school's trustees authorized its sale in January 2004 to California-based Significant Education, LLC,[8] making it the first for-profit Christian college in the United States.[9]

In the fall of 2014, with the school in a better place financially, it announced the exploration of a return to non-profit status on October 29. The university's president and CEO, Brian Mueller, said in a statement: "We do not have a philosophical issue with having a for-profit status and having investors. However, the stigma surrounding the for-profit industry – some of which is deserved, and some not – is real and it is not improving. And no matter what GCU does to separate itself, its detractors continue to try to use this stigma to detract from GCU’s success."[10] Mueller has noted that GCU has been immune to a lot of the problems associated with for-profit colleges, mainly because of its regional accreditation.[10]

On March 4, 2016, Grand Canyon's regional accreditation body, The Higher Learning Commission, formally rejected the university's petition for conversion to non-profit status. The commission's board of directors stated that the school did not meet all five criteria for "such a conversion".[11][12][13]


Phoenix campus[edit]

Grand Canyon University has 17 residence halls on its Phoenix campus.[14] In 2006, the Grand Canyon University campus received a US$150 million makeover including a brick promenade, an aquatics center, with pool and hot tub, and a café offering an assortment of games and big-screen televisions.[15]

In 2009, Grand Canyon University's campus began work on a $60 million campus expansion project which includes a 500-bed dormitory, a 55,000-square-foot (5,100 m2) fitness and recreation center, 125-classroom facility, food court and bowling alley,[16] and a 5,000 seat arena. The GCU Arena, which opened on September 2, 2011,[17] is utilized for secular and non-secular concerts, speakers, and events, as well as being home to Grand Canyon University's Men's and Women's basketball teams, and Women's Volleyball games, beginning in the fall of 2013.[18] The three-year-old arena is already undergoing major expansion beginning in Spring of 2014 with the goal of expanding to about 7,000 seats.[19]

Albuquerque campus[edit]

Grand Canyon's Albuquerque campus offers Master's programs in reading and education and a traditional Bachelor's of Science in Nursing degree program.[20]

Satellite campuses[edit]

The University operates several satellite Campuses in Arizona. These campuses, operated by the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, are currently located at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, Banner Boswell Medical Center, and Scottsdale HonorHealth. The university also operates a satellite campus in Tempe, AZ, offering various master's programs in education.[20]


Grand Canyon University currently offers over 60 different Bachelor, Master and Doctoral degree programs through its eight colleges.[21]

  • Colangelo College of Business
  • College of Education
  • College of Fine Arts and Production
  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • College of Nursing and Health Care Professions
  • College of Science, Engineering, and Technology
  • College of Theology
  • College of Doctoral Studies


Baseball game, Gonzaga University at GCU, February 19, 2016

Grand Canyon University is currently a member of NCAA Division I with most sports participating in the Western Athletic Conference. Men's Volleyball competes in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. It is the only for-profit institution at the NCAA's Division I level. In March 2013, former Phoenix Suns shooting guard Dan Majerle was hired as the 13th men's basketball coach. Majerle also will oversee GCU's transition into NCAA Division I basketball, in the WAC. GCU will be eligible for the postseason starting in the 2017-2018 season.

GCU also has a range of competitive club sports teams such as Men's and Women's Lacrosse and Rugby. Although the Men's lacrosse team has been a part of GCU athletics for some time, GCU did not include the sport in its jump from NAIA to NCAA. As a part of the MCLA, Grand Canyon won the 2015 National Championship as a club team. The 2015-2016 season is the third season for both the women's lacrosse team and the rugby team.

Recognition, ranking, statistics, and accreditation[edit]

Fortune Small Business[edit]

GCU was recognized as a top-five online school for entrepreneurs by Fortune.[22]

U.S. News[edit]

In the 2014–2015 school year, GCU admitted 54.8% of those applying, and had associated costs for tuition and fees of $17,050. It falls into the category of a for-profit Regional Universities (West), wherein it was ranked, in the 2016 Best Colleges from U.S. News, as a Tier 2 institution (meaning its ranking placed it in the bottom 25% of institutions in its category).[23]


Grand Canyon University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, a regional accrediting body.[5] GCU is also licensed by the Arizona State Private Post-Secondary Education.[24]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Brian Mueller is the rock helping Grand Canyon University roll" (PDF). Phoenix Business Journal. 2015-09-25. Retrieved 2015-10-15. 
  2. ^ "Brand Standards | Media & Branding | Grand Canyon University". Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  3. ^ "Carnegie Foundation Classifications". Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research. Retrieved May 11, 2016. 
  4. ^ Medcalf, Myron (July 29, 2013). "GCU's for-profit predicament". Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b [1] Archived June 20, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ degree Degree Programs
  7. ^ [2]Accessed May 13, 2010
  8. ^ Tammi Reed Ledbetter, Grand Canyon Univ. sold; trustees in advisory role, Baptist Press, Feb 10, 2004, Accessed May 24, 2006
  9. ^ Bob Smietana, Christian Ed That Pays Off, Christianity Today, May 19, 2005, Accessed May 11, 2006
  10. ^ a b GCU to consider return to nonprofit status
  11. ^ Public Disclosure Notice
  12. ^ Grand Canyon University Denied Switch to Nonprofit Status
  13. ^ Grand Canyon University Denied Request to Switch to Nonprofit Status
  14. ^ "RESIDENCE LIFE - Grand Canyon University". Retrieved 7 March 2016. 
  15. ^ Stanton, Alison (Oct 11, 2006). "GCU campus receives makeover". Arizona Republic. Retrieved Oct 11, 2006. 
  16. ^ "Where to Eat? New Campus Options Already Popular | GCU Today". 2011-09-01. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  17. ^ "A Year’s Wait Is Over: Welcome, GCU Arena! | GCU Today". 2011-09-08. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  18. ^ Anderson, Craig (Mar 23, 2010). "GCU begins expansion of campus in Phoenix". Arizona Republic. Retrieved May 13, 2010. 
  19. ^ Bob McClay. "GCU to expand seating at new arena". Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  20. ^ a b "GCU Tucson Campus | Grand Canyon University". Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  21. ^ [3], Retrieved on 2016-03-06 from
  22. ^ Top 5 e-schools, Fortune Small Business / CNN
  23. ^ "Grand Canyon University | Best College | US News". Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  24. ^ "Accredited University | Grand Canyon University". Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  25. ^ "Anthony B UFC Profile". 
  26. ^ "Henry Cejudo Grand Canyon University Alum". Retrieved 2014. 
  27. ^ "Henry Cejudo UFC". Retrieved 2014. 
  28. ^ "Efrain Escudero UFC Bio". Retrieved 2014. 
  29. ^ [4]Accessed May 13, 2010
  30. ^ [5]Accessed May 31, 2010
  31. ^ [6]Accessed May 13, 2010

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°30′45″N 112°7′48″W / 33.51250°N 112.13000°W / 33.51250; -112.13000