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 Cream[5]

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.[6]

One of New Jersey's 11 public universities and colleges,[7] Thomas Edison State University offers degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level.[8] 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.[9] In 2015, Thomas Edison State University was awarded university status.[10]


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.[11]

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.[12] 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).[13] In 2011, the Kelsey Building celebrated its 100th Anniversary.[14]

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.[15] In 2013, TESU announced the completion of a new nursing simulation lab (funded by Bristol Myers Squibb)[16] 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.[17]

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,[18] the Quantum Ring sculpture,[19] a bronze map of Trenton, and plaques in tribute to Thomas Edison,[20] along with two collections. Inside the Kelsey Building, a lavishly decorated room was built as a special tribute to Prudence Townsend Kelsey.[12] 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."[21] 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.[22]

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.[18][23]


The university offers associate, bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in more than 100 areas of study.[24] 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 platforms award credit that is then allowed to be transferred to Thomas Edison State University, where the degree is earned.[25]


The Heavin School of Arts and Sciences

The School of Applied Science and Technology

The School of Business and Management

The W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing

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.


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.[26]

Obtaining credit at Thomas Edison State University[edit]

In addition to transfer credits from other accredited institutions, credits may be earned through a number of different processes, listed below:

  • Online courses in which students communicate electronically with mentors and fellow students and submit assignments through the university's online course management system.
  • e-Pack courses, in which students take a series of quizzes to prepare for a final exam. These courses are "pass" or "fail" only.
  • Examinations, including TECEP tests, enable students to earn (ungraded) credits by taking a single examination.[27]
  • Portfolio assessment.[28]
  • Guided Study courses structured around weekly readings, audiovisual materials, and written assignments. Students work on their own using texts, study guides and other course materials and complete assignments and projects. These courses include midterm and final exams.
  • Licenses and Certifications may be the basis for college credit.[29][30]
  • 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.
  • Passing scores on standardized exams like the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), administered by the College Board. Transcripts from the American Council on Education's credit recommendation program are also accepted for review.[31]


The university has been regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education since 1977.[32] 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).[33]
  • 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).[36]
  • 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.[37]
  • 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).[38]

Reviews and achievements[edit]

In 2013, The New York Times called Thomas Edison State University the "college that paved the way for flexibility."[39]

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.[40]

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[31] and the school was named a top school for military students and veterans.[41] 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.[42]

Notable alumni[edit]

The University has more than 50,000 alumni worldwide.[43] Notable alumni include:


  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 August 19, 2020.
  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. ^ "Institutions experiment with shorter online courses as audience diversifies | Inside Higher Ed". Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  7. ^ "State of NJ - Office of the Secretary of Higher Education". Retrieved January 14, 2016.
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  9. ^ Brozan, Nadine (October 23, 1992). "Chronicle". Style. The New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  10. ^ "Thomas Edison State 'University' announces status, name change". January 11, 2016. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
  11. ^ "BENJAMIN YARD IRON WORKS AND PETTY’S RUN" Destination Tenton. Retrieved 2014-1-13.
  12. ^ a b "The Kelsey Building, 1911" Trenton Historical Society. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  13. ^ "Thomas Edison State College" Destination Trenton. Retrieved 2014-1-13.
  14. ^ "Thomas Edison State University marks building's centennial with 'Cake Boss' replica" Retrieved 2014-1-13.
  15. ^ "Thomas Edison State College" NJ Higher Education. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  16. ^ "Thomas Edison State College unveils new nursing simulation lab in Trenton" Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  17. ^ "Thomas Edison becomes Trenton’s first university" Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  18. ^ a b "Wells Fargo Donates Historic N.C. Wyeth Painting to TESU". Thomas Edison State University. December 13, 2019.
  19. ^ "Quantum Ring" Destination Trenton. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  20. ^ "BRONZE MAP OF TRENTON AND PLAQUES IN TRIBUTE TO THOMAS EDISON" Destination Trenton. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  21. ^ "ON THE MAP; In a College Building in Trenton, a Hidden Shrine to a Lost Love" New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  22. ^ "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.
  23. ^ Duke, India (December 16, 2019). "$4M painting is most-expensive gift ever given to this N.J. university".
  24. ^ "What You Can Study". Academic Programs. Thomas Edison State University. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  25. ^ Morad, Renee. "How Hundreds Of People Are Getting Their College Degree For Free". Forbes. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  26. ^ "Degree Programs at Thomas Edison State University".
  27. ^ "Credit By Exam". Thomas Edison State University. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
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  29. ^ "Licenses and Certifications". Thomas Edison State University. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  30. ^ "Office for Assessment of Professional and Workplace Learning". Thomas Edison State University. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  31. ^ a b "Adults Are Flocking to College That Paved Way for Flexibility" New York Times. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  32. ^ "Middle States Commission on Higher Education". Retrieved January 14, 2016.
  33. ^ "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.
  34. ^ "TEAC Members". NLNAC Accredited Nursing Programs. Teacher Education Accreditation Council. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  35. ^ "Recognized Accrediting Organizations (as of April 2009)" (PDF). Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  36. ^ "Thomas Edison State College" ABET. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  37. ^ "Thomas Edison State College" Archived November 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine CAAHEP. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  38. ^ "Thomas Edison State University ACBSP"[permanent dead link] Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  39. ^ "Adults Are Flocking to College That Paved Way for Flexibility" The New York Times. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  40. ^ "Awards" NUTN. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  41. ^ "Online Nontraditional" Archived November 29, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Military Times. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  42. ^ "Menendez Announces Investment to Create Economic Development Strategy" Office of US Senator Robert Menendez. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  43. ^ "Alumni". Thomas Edison State University. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  44. ^ "Arthur C. Brooks". Scholars. American Enterprise Institute. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
  45. ^ "Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D) (Majority Leader)". Legislative District 15. New Jersey Legislature. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
  46. ^ "Graduates you should meet" TESU Foundation. Retrieved 2016-1-12.
  47. ^ "STEVEN L HERMAN". TOKYO RADIO & TELEVISION DIRECTORY. Retrieved May 12, 2009. External link in |publisher= (help)
  48. ^ "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.
  49. ^ "Brian M. Hughes, County Executive". Elected Officials. Mercer County "The Capital County". Archived from the original on April 23, 2009. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
  50. ^ "Interview with Daniel Knudsen". The Dove Foundation. August 25, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  51. ^ Ildelfonso Lopez, Tras las Huellas de Nuestro Paso, Pg. 25, Publisher: AEELA, 1998, Retrieved May 10, 2007.
  52. ^ "El Mundo" (Puerto Rican newspaper); "Gente"; August 20, 1982
  53. ^ "Meet Kristina Sisco, '06". Academic Programs – Alumni Profiles. Thomas Edison State University. Archived from the original on January 28, 2016. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  54. ^ "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