Kensington University

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Kensington University
TypePrivate, distance education
Active1976 (1976)–2003 (2003)
FounderAlfred Calabro[1]
Glendale, California (1976–1996),
Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi (1996–2003)

Kensington University was an unaccredited distance education institution that was based at different times in Hawaii and California. Kensington University was eventually shut down by state authorities in both states.


The school was founded in 1976 by Alfred Calabro in Glendale, California, as a "no fat, no bull" correspondence school to meet the needs of working adults.[1] The university was housed in a Glendale office that also contained Calabro's law practice. Kensington awarded bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in a wide range of fields.[2] The Hawaii branch was started in 1996.[3]

As of 1976, Kensington was an "authorized" independent postsecondary institution in the state of California.[4] After the California Council for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education was created in 1989 to regulate higher education institutions in the state, Kensington was required to obtain Council approval. In 1994, the Council's first review of the institution found deficiencies.[1][2] Following a protracted legal battle, Kensington University was ordered shut down by California authorities in 1996.[2] The California Council for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education said that "little or no rigor or credible academic standards are necessary in order to be awarded an advanced degree at Kensington University."[2] No new degrees could be awarded, but prior degrees from the school would remain valid. The school was then re-opened by Anthony Calabro in September 1996[5] at Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi,[6] where it was later closed by court order in 2003.[3][7][8]

Notable alumni[edit]

In 1996, Kensington reported having graduated 7,000 students in the previous two decades.[9]

One of the notable people who received degrees from Kensington University is Jennifer Carroll, who served as Florida lieutenant governor and as a member of the Florida House of Representatives. She received an MBA degree from Kensington in 1995, but removed it from her personal biography in 2004 after a CBS News investigation informed her of concerns about the school's legitimacy. The news reports also led Carroll to resign from the National Commission on Presidential Scholars.[8][10] René Drouin, who sat on an advisory committee at the U.S. Department of Education, also was identified by CBS News as a Kensington degree holder.[8] Both Carroll and Drouin told reporters that they had worked hard in their Kensington degree programs and thought the academic programs were legitimate.[8][10]

Martin S. Roden, an engineering professor at California State University at Los Angeles, obtained a doctorate from Kensington in 1982, by which time he already held a full professorship at Cal State.[1][11] In 1996, he said Kensington was "not a fraud, but certainly no one going there would be compared to someone with a UCLA degree."[1] He later told the Chronicle of Higher Education that he had the degree to avoid having to correct students who mistakenly addressed him as "Doctor".[11]

The only Western degree displayed by the late North Korean despot Kim Il-sung in his residence – and later his mausoleum – the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, was from Kensington.[12][13]

Texas Penal Law[edit]

According to Texas Penal Code, it is a misdemeanor to use a degree from Kensington University "in a written or oral advertisement or other promotion of a business; or with the intent to: obtain employment; obtain a license or certificate to practice a trade, profession, or occupation; obtain a promotion, a compensation or other benefit, or an increase in compensation or other benefit, in employment or in the practice of a trade, profession, or occupation; obtain admission to an educational program in this state; or gain a position in government with authority over another person, regardless of whether the actor receives compensation for the position."[14]

A person who is found guilty of this misdemeanor shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $2,000, up to 180 days in jail, or both.[15]


  1. ^ a b c d e Chandler, John (April 23, 1996), "Kensington University Faces Closure Hearing", Los Angeles Times.
  2. ^ a b c d Chandler, John (January 4, 1996), "State Orders Closure of Area School:Regulators say the private, Glendale-based Kensington University lacks 'credible academic standards'", Los Angeles Times.
  3. ^ a b Chandler, John (June 27, 1996), "University Sidesteps Close Order", Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ California Postsecondary Education Commission. "California Colleges and Universities" (PDF). p. 13. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 10, 2013. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  5. ^ "BREG Online Services - powered by". Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  6. ^ Chandler, John. "University Sidesteps Close Order: Education: Kensington correspondence school transfers Glendale student enrollment to 'paper campus' in Hawaii]". Los Angeles Times. June 27, 1996. p. 1.
  7. ^ Kensington University, State of Hawai’i Office of Consumer Protection, retrieved May 25, 2013
  8. ^ a b c d Top Officials Hold Fake Degrees, CBS News, 2004-05-10.
  9. ^ Chandler, John (April 6, 1996). "Lawyer Fights to Keep His School Going". Los Angeles Times.
  10. ^ a b Majors, Stephen (May 12, 2004). "Lawmaker to check her degree's status". Florida Times-Union.
  11. ^ a b Bartlett, Thomas; Smallwood, Scott (June 25, 2004). "Psst. Wanna Buy a Ph.D.?". Chronicle of Higher Education.
  12. ^ Burdick, Eddie (2010). Three Days in the Hermit Kingdom: An American Visits North Korea. McFarland. pp. 115–116. ISBN 978-0786448982.
  13. ^ Lindval, Bengt. "Inside the Democratic People's Republic of Korea". Now Toronto. January 13, 2016.
  14. ^ "Institutions Whose Degrees are Illegal to use in Texas". Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  15. ^ "Section 12.12". Texas Penal Code. Texas Constitution and Statutes. Retrieved July 19, 2017.