Magazine article University Business

All in the Family: America's Family-Owned and Operated Career Universities

Magazine article University Business

All in the Family: America's Family-Owned and Operated Career Universities

Article excerpt

BEYOND LOCAL BUTCHERS, BAKERS, AND CANDLESTICK MAKERS, when was the last time you remember shopping at a family owned and operated bookstore, pharmacy, or haberdasher--let alone a family owned and operated school, college, or university?

Placed squarely between a rock and a hard place of increased regulatory scrutiny, publicly subsidized community and technical colleges, and craven, publicly traded for-profit competition, family-run colleges and universities have become all but an extinct species.

These institutions numbered several hundred just two generations past. Fast-forward to the new millennium, and the number has dwindled to approximately 40. Among the more prominent remaining family-owned and operated institutions are Herzing University (Wis.), Sullivan University (Ky.), and Rasmussen College, which has locations in five states and also offers online-only programs.

Chartered in 1965 by Henry and Suzanne Herzing as a computer programming school in Milwaukee, Wis., today Herzing University is led by Renee Herzing, daughter of Henry and Suzanne. When asked what "family owned and operated" meant to him, Hank Herzing put it simply this way, "Twenty years ago, I wanted to plan for the continuance of Herzing College as an independent entity owned by the family even after I was gone.... That the Board chose as my successor one of my daughters was ... a source of personal satisfaction and great pride. It made me feel assured that the values and culture we had developed at Herzing over the years would be continued."

Prior to founding the university, Herzing worked as a senior missile test officer for the U. …

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