Thomas Edison State University

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Thomas Edison State University
Thomas Edison State College logo2.gif
MottoEruditio perpetua vitae (Latin)[1]
Motto in English
Learning throughout life
TypePublic university
PresidentMerodie A. Hancock[3]
Students17,200 [4]
Location, ,
United States
ColorsBurgundy and White

Thomas Edison State University is a public university in Trenton, New Jersey. It is a majority-online institution that serves the state's adult population.[5]

One of New Jersey's 11 public universities and colleges,[6] Thomas Edison State University offers degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level.[7] Thomas Edison State College was approved by the New Jersey Board of Education in December 1971, and established on July 1, 1972. The school was 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] In 2015, Thomas Edison State University was awarded university status.[9]


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.[10]

The Kelsey Building at 101-103 W. State Street

Built in 1911 by A. Henry Cooper Kelsey, the Kelsey Building is one of the architectural landmarks of the city.[11] 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).[12] In 2011, the Kelsey Building celebrated its 100th Anniversary.[13]

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 legendary past and stimulating economic development.[14] In 2013, TESU announced the completion of a new nursing simulation lab (funded by Bristol Myers Squibb)[15] and this spring expects to open a 34,360-square-foot Nursing Education Center at the site of the former Glen Cairn Arms apartment complex at West State and Calhoun streets.[16]

West State Street historic townhouses

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,[17] the Quantum Ring sculpture,[18] a bronze map of Trenton, and plaques in tribute to Thomas Edison,[19] along with two collections. Inside the Kelsey Building, a lavishly decorated room was built as a special tribute to Prudence Townsend Kelsey.[11] 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."[20] 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.[21]

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.[17][22]


The university offers associate, bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in more than 100 areas of study.[23] These programs are based in Thomas Edison State University's five schools. Many students are able to earn credit through other online means such as, an online education platform with short, animated video lessons, quizzes and study tools for students. The platform's award credit that is then allowed to be transferred to Thomas Edison State University, where the degree is earned.[24]


The Heavin School of Arts and Sciences provides an interdisciplinary approach to lifelong learning for adult learners interested in exploring values inherent in the liberal arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences as well as rigorous degree programs in the human services.

The School of Applied Science and Technology provides students with innovative degree programs to gain expertise in the fields of the applied sciences that benefit from technical currency, practical knowledge and applied skills.

The School of Business and Management provides relevant, rigorous and career-focused degree programs that prepare leaders to add value to their firms and organizations in the dynamic global marketplace

The W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing provides students with innovative degree programs that meet the educational and career needs of licensed registered nurses who want an alternative to campus-based instruction.

The John S. Watson School of Public Service and Continuing Studies offers degree programs and advanced certificate programs that cover domestic and international issues, including public policy studies, nonprofit management, financial management, public policy analysis, regional planning, early childhood education, environmental policy/environmental justice and health policy and management.

Glen Cairn Hall - W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing


Thomas Edison State University offers degrees at the undergraduate level, including seven associate degrees and 14 bachelor's degrees in more than 100 major areas of study. The university also offers 18 graduate degrees as well as undergraduate, graduate and noncredit certificates.[25]

Obtaining credit at Thomas Edison State University[edit]

  • Online courses are delivered via the Internet. Students in online courses communicate with mentors and fellow students using email and submit assignments to mentors through myEdison, the university's online course management system.
  • e-Pack courses are suitable for independent distance learners who want the structure of a semester-based course, but do not require mentor guidance and do not wish to complete written assignments. Students take a series of quizzes to prepare for a final exam. These courses are "pass" or "fail" only and do not result in a traditional letter grade.
  • Examination programs including TECEP tests, enable students to demonstrate the college-level knowledge they have gained through work, personal interests or independent study by taking a single examination. Examinations are "pass" or "fail" only and do not result in a traditional letter grade.[26]
  • Portfolio assessment provides students with the opportunity to work with a mentor to demonstrate that they possess college-level knowledge in a subject and earn credit toward their degree. Portfolio assessment is a rewarding way to earn college credit because it acknowledges and validates the learning a student has acquired outside of a traditional classroom setting.[27]
  • Guided Study courses are designed for highly independent learners and are structured around weekly readings, DVD/video and/or audio tapes and written assignments. Students work on their own, using texts, study guides and other course materials. Specific lessons and assignments must be completed and the learning is evaluated by proctored midterm and final exams.
  • Licenses and Certifications may be the basis for college credit.[28] Professional training is evaluated by the university's Office for Assessment of Professional and Workplace Learning, National College Credit Recommendation Service (CCRS) of the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York, or by the American Council on Education's CREDIT program.[29]
    • Health-Related
    • Aviation
    • Business
    • Other Licenses and Certifications
    • Office for Assessment of Professional and Workplace Learning
    • Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Transfer credit will be accepted for courses completed at colleges and universities accredited by the six regional accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Credit may also be awarded for military training as evaluated by the Office on Educational Credit and Credentials of the American Council on Education (ACE) as well as select military schools that have undergone institutional reviews in order to award additional credits not recommended by ACE.
  • Others get credits by submitting a portfolio of their work or passing standardized exams like the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), administered by the College Board. Many complete online college courses from Thomas Edison State University or "open courseware" sources like the Saylor Foundation. Many bring transcripts from the American Council on Education's credit recommendation program, certifying their nontraditional programs.[30]


The university has been regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education since 1977.[31] Several programs are also accredited:

  • The W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing programs at Thomas Edison State University are approved by the New Jersey Board of Nursing, the Accrediting Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).[32]
  • The Thomas Edison State University bachelor's degree programs in Electronic Systems Engineering Technology and Nuclear Energy Engineering Technology are accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET. ABET is a specialized accrediting agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).[35]
  • Thomas Edison State University's associate degree program and undergraduate certificate in Polysomnography was awarded initial accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). The initial accreditation status is valid from March 16, 2012 until March 31, 2017.[36]
  • The School of Business and Management's Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Management and Master of Science in Human Resources Management (MSHRM) degree programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).[37]

Reviews and achievements[edit]

In 2013, The New York Times called Thomas Edison State University the "college that paved the way for adults."[38]

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.[39]

Kelsey Administration bldg.

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[30] and the school was named a top school for military students and veterans.[40] It was also announced by U.S. Senator Robert Menendez that Thomas Edison State University is receiving 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.[41]

Notable alumni[edit]

The University has more than 50,000 alumni worldwide.[42] Notable alumni include:


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  2. ^ "Marine Engineering Education"
  3. ^ "President's Bio". Thomas Edison State University. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
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  20. ^ "ON THE MAP; In a College Building in Trenton, a Hidden Shrine to a Lost Love" New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
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  22. ^ Duke, India (December 16, 2019). "$4M painting is most-expensive gift ever given to this N.J. university".
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  24. ^ Morad, Renee. "How Hundreds Of People Are Getting Their College Degree For Free". Forbes. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  25. ^
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  33. ^ "TEAC Members". NLNAC Accredited Nursing Programs. Teacher Education Accreditation Council. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
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  39. ^ "Awards" NUTN. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  40. ^ "Online Nontraditional" Archived November 29, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Military Times. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  41. ^ "Menendez Announces Investment to Create Economic Development Strategy" Office of US Senator Robert Menendez. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  42. ^ "Alumni". Thomas Edison State University. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  43. ^ "Arthur C. Brooks". Scholars. American Enterprise Institute. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
  44. ^ "Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D) (Majority Leader)". Legislative District 15. New Jersey Legislature. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
  45. ^ "Graduates you should meet" TESU Foundation. Retrieved 2016-1-12.
  46. ^ "STEVEN L HERMAN". TOKYO RADIO & TELEVISION DIRECTORY. Retrieved May 12, 2009. External link in |publisher= (help)
  47. ^ "Jim Harrington '06". Academic Programs – Undergraduate Programs – Transferring Your Credit. Thomas Edison State University. Archived from the original on January 28, 2016. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  48. ^ "Brian M. Hughes, County Executive". Elected Officials. Mercer County "The Capital County". Archived from the original on April 23, 2009. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
  49. ^ "Interview with Daniel Knudsen". The Dove Foundation. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  50. ^ Ildelfonso Lopez, Tras las Huellas de Nuestro Paso, Pg. 25, Publisher: AEELA, 1998, Retrieved May 10, 2007.
  51. ^ "El Mundo" (Puerto Rican newspaper); "Gente"; August 20, 1982
  52. ^ "Meet Kristina Sisco, '06". Academic Programs – Alumni Profiles. Thomas Edison State University. Archived from the original on January 28, 2016. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  53. ^ "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.

External links[edit]

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