Thomas Edison State University

Coordinates: 40°13′13″N 74°46′06″W / 40.2203°N 74.7684°W / 40.2203; -74.7684
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Thomas Edison State University
Thomas Edison State University seal.png
Former name
Thomas Edison State College (1972–2015)
MottoEruditio perpetua vitae (Latin)[1]
Motto in English
Learning throughout life
TypePublic university
EstablishedJuly 1972[2]
PresidentMerodie A. Hancock[3]
Location, ,
United States
ColorsBurgundy and cream[5]

Thomas Edison State University (TESU) is a public university in Trenton, New Jersey. The university is one of New Jersey's 11 senior public institutions of higher education. Thomas Edison State University offers degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level.[6]


Thomas Edison State College was approved by the New Jersey Board of Education in December 1971, and established on July 1, 1972. In 2015, the college was awarded university status.[7] The school is named in honor of Thomas Alva Edison, the inventor who lived in New Jersey for the bulk of his adult life and gained encyclopedic knowledge of many subject areas through self-directed learning.[8]


Thomas Edison State University moved into downtown Trenton in September 1979, at a time when other institutions were leaving cities. The 7-year-old university, which had spent three years at the Forrestal Center outside of Princeton, needed room for growth. At the same time, the state was looking for an appropriate tenant for the landmark Kelsey Building located adjacent to New Jersey's State House complex and the State House historic district, while the city sought to preserve the building's historic use as a school. Behind the Kelsey Building and the adjoining five restored mid-19th-century brick Townhouses is Petty's Run, which flows to the Delaware River. In the early 1730s, Petty's Run powered a plating mill, and by midcentury drove a steel furnace.[9]

The Kelsey Building

Built in 1911 by A. Henry Cooper Kelsey, the Kelsey Building is one of the architectural landmarks of the city.[10] It housed three other schools before serving as the headquarters for Thomas Edison State University. The architecture of the Kelsey Building is modeled after a Florentine palace, the Palazzo Strozzi. The main structure was designed in 1910 by world-renowned architect Cass Gilbert (designer of New York City's Woolworth Building).[11] In 2011, the Kelsey Building celebrated its 100th Anniversary.[12]

The university's campus has grown over the years and currently includes the Kelsey Building, the Townhouse Complex, the Center for Learning and Technology, and Kuser Mansion, all on West State Street. The Academic Center and Canal Banks Building are located on West Hanover Street.

Thomas Edison State University has been active in restoring several historic buildings of downtown Trenton, preserving the essence of the city's past and stimulating economic development.[13] In 2013, TESU announced the completion of a new nursing simulation lab (funded by Bristol Myers Squibb).[14] In 2016, the university celebrated the opening of the 34,360-square-foot Nursing Education Center at the site of the former Glen Cairn Arms apartment complex at West State and Calhoun streets.[15]

Artwork on campus[edit]

TESU houses a number of pieces of art including a N. C. Wyeth painting titled Reception to Washington on April 21, 1789, at Trenton on his way to New York to Assume the Duties of the Presidency of the United States,[16] the Quantum Ring sculpture,[17] a bronze map of Trenton, and plaques in tribute to Thomas Edison,[18] along with two collections. Inside the Kelsey Building, a lavishly decorated room was built as a special tribute to Prudence Townsend Kelsey.[10] The Prudence Townsend Kelsey Memorial Room is a permanent exhibit space for the porcelain and art she and her husband, Henry Cooper Kelsey, collected on their annual trips to Europe."[19] Paintings, porcelains and bronzes on display in the Memorial Room. The majority of the collections consists of souvenirs and mementos purchased by the Kelsey's on their annual trips abroad. Some of the items housed in the room include an asparagus shaped porcelain vial, a jewel Demitasse cup and saucer by Coalport, charms, vases and several pieces of porcelain and crystal from Austria, England, Germany, France and Ireland.

The Bradshaw Collection by George A. Bradshaw is displayed in the Kelsey Building's Prudence Hall. The university often hosts tours of these collections which are also viewable by appointment. In addition to being displayed at Thomas Edison State University, Bradshaw's etchings are in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, the Vanderpoel Gallery in Chicago, Newark Museum, the University of Nebraska and many private collections.[20]

In 2019, Wells Fargo donated the painting by Wyeth portraying George Washington's reception at Trenton to TESU, the largest gift ever given to the university.[16][21]


Thomas Edison State University offers associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees in more than 100 areas of study.[22] The university also offers undergraduate, graduate and noncredit certificates.[23] Academic programs at the institution are housed in five schools:

  • Heavin School of Arts and Sciences
  • School of Applied Science and Technology
  • School of Business and Management
  • W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing and Health Professions
  • John S. Watson School of Public Service


The university is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE); it has been accredited by MSCHE or its predecessor organization since 1977.[24] Several programs are also accredited:

Student media[edit]

Invention is the magazine of Thomas Edison State University. It keeps alumni, supporters, students and friends informed of news from the university, including new programs and services, special events and alumni profiles and updates.

Reviews and achievements[edit]

In 2013, The New York Times called Thomas Edison State University the "college that paved the way for flexibility."[31]

In 2011, Thomas Edison State University was selected by the National University Technology Network (NUTN) to receive its Distance Education Innovation Award for the development of the FlashTrack course delivery system, which delivers entire courses to students via a flash drive and does not require a constant internet connection.[32]

In 2013, TESU graduates had among the highest pass rate on the exam for certified public accountants in New Jersey, in the national accounting-boards report[33] and the school was named a top school for military students and veterans.[34] It was also announced by U.S. Senator Robert Menendez that Thomas Edison State University received a $320,000 grant from the Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration to create a regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for 19 densely populated municipalities in North and Central New Jersey.[35]

Notable people[edit]


The university has more than 60,000 alumni worldwide.[36]



  1. ^ "University unveils new seal". Invention. Trenton, New Jersey: Thomas Edison State University. Winter 2016.
  2. ^ "Marine Engineering Education"
  3. ^ "President's Bio". Thomas Edison State University. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  4. ^ "Thomas Edison State University". Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  5. ^ Program for The Inauguration of Thomas Edison State University’s Fourth President and the 46th Annual Commencement, Thomas Edison State University, September 29, 2018. Accessed March 4, 2021. "More recently, the official colors of Thomas Edison State University, burgundy and cream, have been used in the gown and its decorations."
  6. ^ "Certificates and Degrees offered by Thomas Edison State College". Retrieved January 14, 2016.
  7. ^ "Thomas Edison State 'University' announces status, name change". January 11, 2016. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
  8. ^ Brozan, Nadine (October 23, 1992). "Chronicle". Style. The New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  9. ^ "BENJAMIN YARD IRON WORKS AND PETTY’S RUN" Destination Tenton. Retrieved 2014-1-13.
  10. ^ a b "The Kelsey Building, 1911" Trenton Historical Society. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  11. ^ "Thomas Edison State College" Destination Trenton. Retrieved 2014-1-13.
  12. ^ "Thomas Edison State University marks building's centennial with 'Cake Boss' replica" Retrieved 2014-1-13.
  13. ^ "Thomas Edison State College" NJ Higher Education. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  14. ^ "Thomas Edison State College unveils new nursing simulation lab in Trenton" Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  15. ^ "Thomas Edison becomes Trenton’s first university" Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  16. ^ a b "Wells Fargo Donates Historic N.C. Wyeth Painting to TESU". Thomas Edison State University. December 13, 2019.
  17. ^ "Quantum Ring" Destination Trenton. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  18. ^ "BRONZE MAP OF TRENTON AND PLAQUES IN TRIBUTE TO THOMAS EDISON" Destination Trenton. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  19. ^ "ON THE MAP; In a College Building in Trenton, a Hidden Shrine to a Lost Love" New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  20. ^ "Capturing Landmarks in Pencil, Pen, and Ink" Princeton Info. Retrieved March 7, 2014.;"Prudence Townsend Kelsey Memorial Room, Thomas Edison State College" Princeton Online. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  21. ^ Duke, India (December 16, 2019). "$4M painting is most-expensive gift ever given to this N.J. university".
  22. ^ "What You Can Study". Academic Programs. Thomas Edison State University. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  23. ^ "Degree Programs at Thomas Edison State University".
  24. ^ "Middle States Commission on Higher Education". Retrieved January 14, 2016.
  25. ^ "Baccalaureate Schools – Nursing Program" (PDF). Division of Consumer Affairs. State of New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety Office of the Attorney General. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  26. ^ "TEAC Members". NLNAC Accredited Nursing Programs. Teacher Education Accreditation Council. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  27. ^ "Recognized Accrediting Organizations (as of April 2009)" (PDF). Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  28. ^ "Thomas Edison State College" ABET. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  29. ^ "Thomas Edison State College" Archived November 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine CAAHEP. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  30. ^ "Thomas Edison State University ACBSP"[permanent dead link] Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  31. ^ "Adults Are Flocking to College That Paved Way for Flexibility" The New York Times. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  32. ^ "Awards" NUTN. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  33. ^ "Adults Are Flocking to College That Paved Way for Flexibility" New York Times. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  34. ^ "Online Nontraditional" Archived November 29, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Military Times. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  35. ^ "Menendez Announces Investment to Create Economic Development Strategy" Office of US Senator Robert Menendez. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  36. ^ "Alumni". Thomas Edison State University. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  37. ^ "Pope Names Springfield, Illinois Priest as Bishop of Wichita, Kansas and Newark Priest as Auxiliary Bishop of Miami", United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, February 20, 2014. Accessed December 15, 2022. "Peter Baldacchino was born December 5, 1960, in Sliema, Malta, and holds citizenship in both the United States and Malta.... He holds a diploma in sciences from the University of Malta; electrical installation licenses from Umberto Calosso Trade School, Malta; a bachelor of arts degree from Thomas A. Edison State College and a master of divinity in pastoral ministry degree from the School of Theology, Seton Hall University."
  38. ^ "Arthur C. Brooks". Scholars. American Enterprise Institute. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
  39. ^ Hurt, Cecil. "Davis gives Tide tie to Final Four", Tuscaloosa News, March 23, 2002. Accessed December 15, 2022. "When the young Davis finished his playing career at Alabama, he went overseas to play professionally. He finished up his degree requirement in the mid-90s at Thomas Edison College."
  40. ^ "Graduates you should meet" TESU Foundation. Retrieved 2016-1-12.
  41. ^ "Voice of America journalist to speak at Akron Press Club", Akron Press Club, March 25, 2021. Accessed December 15, 2022. "Herman is a native of Cincinnati. He holds a B.A. from Thomas Edison State University and a M.A. in public diplomacy from Mountain State University."
  42. ^ "Brian M. Hughes, County Executive". Elected Officials. Mercer County "The Capital County". Archived from the original on April 23, 2009. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
  43. ^ "Interview with Daniel Knudsen". The Dove Foundation. August 25, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  44. ^ Oliviera, D.F. "Wiki Bio Wrong About Luna Degree", The Spokesman-Review, September 10, 2012. Accessed December 15, 2022. "Contrary to repeated publication, Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna's degree is not in measurement science. He has a bachelor of arts in liberal studies, says the spokesman for Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey."
  45. ^ Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D), New Jersey Legislature. Accessed December 15, 2022. "Education: B.A. Thomas Edison State College"
  46. ^ Ildelfonso Lopez, Tras las Huellas de Nuestro Paso, Pg. 25, Publisher: AEELA, 1998, Retrieved May 10, 2007.
  47. ^ "El Mundo" (Puerto Rican newspaper); "Gente"; August 20, 1982
  48. ^ Roberts, Scott. "Remembering Dr. Michael D. Reynolds, 1954 – 2019", Sky & Telescope, November 20, 2019. Accessed December 15, 2022. "As they settled in to build their lives in Jacksonville, Mike worked three day jobs (teaching, UPS, and yardwork) while studying at night to earn his bachelor’s degree in natural sciences at Thomas Edison State College."
  49. ^ Representative Alex Riley District 134, Missouri House of Representatives. Accessed December 15, 2022. "Riley holds a B.A. in political science from Thomas Edison State University, and a Juris Doctorate from Southern Illinois University."
  50. ^ "2007 USC MPW One-Act Play Festival Award is going, going... Gone..." News & Events. University of Southern California College of Letters, Arts & Sciences. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
  51. ^ "Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D) (Majority Leader)". Legislative District 15. New Jersey Legislature. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
  52. ^ Rorke, Robert. "Meet the real-life inspiration for ABC’s new series For Life", New York Post, February 11, 2020. Accessed December 15, 2022. "Wright, 45, didn’t begin his formal education until he was out of jail. 'I had to do four years of undergraduate,' he says. 'I went to Thomas Edison State University in Trenton. I graduated from college in 2002, and then I went to law school at St. Thomas University in Miami in 2004.'"

External links[edit]

40°13′13″N 74°46′06″W / 40.2203°N 74.7684°W / 40.2203; -74.7684