A Look at USIU, the oldest private secular university in the region

When I was still little, my elder sister joined the United States International University – Africa (USIU-Africa). As young and as naive as I was, I always thought my sister used to school abroad. She also capitalized on my innocence narrating how she always flew in from time to time from the United States just to say hello to us.

As the years flew by, I made a discovery of my life. I should have been a scientist or a detective or a researcher of some sort. I unmasked my elder sister. I discovered that she was attending the United States International University in Nairobi and not in New York as she used to allege. We both laughed and she bought me a toy as a reward. I still don’t know what the reward was for.

20 years later, my thirst to know more about USIU is yet to be quenched. Thanks to the advanced technology, by the click of a button, facts about the United States International University – Africa (USIU – Africa) unfold before my eyes.

Many people have no idea that USIU-Africa, founded in 1969, is the oldest private secular university in the region with dual accreditation; in Kenya and the United States of America.

When the institution first set up in 1969, it had only five students. As at the end of 2017-2018 Academic year, the institution had 8,383 students being in Undergraduate, Masters, and Doctorate from 73 countries and all the 47 counties of Kenya.

The Roots

USIU-Africa traces its roots to 1927 when the Balboa Law College was chartered as a private graduate institution in San Diego (USA).

The college later changed its name to Balboa University in 1945. In 1952, Balboa University again changed its name to California Western University.

In 1953 Dr. William C. Rust became the university’s president. He had a vision of international education that would see students and faculty share and embrace knowledge around the world. We can say that the idea of making the earth an academic global village kicked off here.

In 1967, the university’s name was changed to United States International University (USIU).

The university established branch campuses for different world regions, namely, Tokyo in Japan, London in the UK, Mexico City in Mexico, and for Africa Nairobi was selected. USIU-Africa separated itself from its American parent institution in January 2005 and proceeded to pursue independent accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in the United States, which it got in 2008.

Dual Accreditation

USIU-Africa is the only university in the region that has dual accreditation in Kenya and the United States of America (USA) by the Commission for University (CUE) and WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) respectively.

This gives advantage to USIU-Africa students as they get an international education affordable in Kenya.

Having dual accreditation enables USIU-Africa students to be globally competitive.

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