Since its launch in 2009, University of the People has taken great strides as the world’s first tuition-free, online academic institution. Founder & President Shai Reshef has also been widely recognized.
January 2009: University of the People Launches
Reshef announces pioneering initiative at the DLD Conference in Munich, Germany, in January 2009 in front of 300 innovators in education, Internet and design.
April 2009: Enrollment Opens
Recognizing the potential for technology to change the face of education, University of the People opens enrollment in April 2009 to students from around the world.
May 2009: United Nations Welcomes Shai Reshef and University of the People
The United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID) named Reshef to its High-level Panel of Advisers at a briefing at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on May 19, 2009.
May 2009: Fast Company Names Shai Reshef to Its List of the 100 Most Creative People in Business
Honoring dazzling new thinkers, rising stars and boldface names, Fast Company magazine chose Reshef as one of its 100 Most Creative People in Business for his vision of globalized, accessible higher education.
September 2009: Classes Commence
While speaking at the UNDESA-GAID Global Forum in Monterrey, Mexico in September 2009, Reshef announces that 177 students from 49 countries across the globe would comprise the inaugural class at University of the People, beginning their studies in the fields of Computer Science and Business Administration.
September 2009: Yale Law School Information Society Project Partners with University of the People
The Information Society Project at Yale Law School (Yale ISP) expanded its program in digital education by entering into a research partnership with University of the People in September 2009. Within the partnership, the Yale ISP engages in research, advocacy, and network building to advance the marketplace of ideas supporting UoPeople’s effort to create accessible, high-quality digital education.
December 2009: Reshef Inducted into International Ashoka Fellowship
In recognition of his revolutionary venture, Reshef was elected an Ashoka Fellow in December 2009. The program lends Reshef professional support, including access to a global network of two thousand peers throughout the world.
April 2010: Google Keynote
Reshef was the Keynote Speaker at Google's first education summit Think Education: Connecting with the eduSearcher in April 2010. Discussing what the future holds for higher education, Shai spoke to education marketers about the best way to engage students.
April 2010: Harvard Berkman Luncheon Series
As part of Berkman Luncheon Series at Harvard University, Reshef led a session titled “Educating the Many, Not the Few: A Digital Model for Change” in April 2010.
August 2010: University of the People Rings NASDAQ Closing Bell
In August 2010, the non-profit organization was invited by the for-profit world to ring the closing bell. The ceremony was broadcast to thousands over the 7-story NASDAQ video tower in Times Square, online and on television.
August 2010: Clinton Global Initiative Grants Membership
Reshef, on behalf of University of the People, became a member of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in August 2010. Reshef presented UoPeople’s commitment to “Developing Haiti Through Higher Education” and spoke on the panel “Democratizing Education: The Key to Global Economic Growth” during the annual meeting. Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, CGI convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
September 2010: HuffPost Game Changer
Recognized for “taking the world to school,” Shai Reshef was selected as the HuffPost 2010 Ultimate Game Changer in Education. Awarded by The Huffington Post, the accolade celebrates innovators, visionaries, mavericks, and leaders who are transforming their fields through innovation. Individuals are honored in 12 different categories including politics, entertainment, style, tech, business, travel, green, sports, food, education, media, and impact.
September 2010: Washington Ideas Forum
Reshef attended the Washington Ideas Forum 2010, an annual event hosted by The Atlantic, the Aspen Institute and Newseum. He joined a group of economists, congressmen, think tank strategists, university presidents and private-sector executives to discuss the fate of the American Middle Class and the 21st century workforce.
November 2010: Haiti Project Commences
In November, Shai Reshef, travelled to Haiti to officially launch UoPeople's CGI Commitment to provide 250 Haitians with the opportunity to access higher education. Classes commenced on November 18 for UoPeople's first 16 students at a dedicated Student Computer Center in Port-au-Prince. Operated by Haitian Connection Network, the Student Computer Center, equipped with computers, satellite internet connection, generator and security, offers students a place to study.
February 2011: Total Number of Countries Students Admitted From Reach 110 Countries
University of the People’s global reach had extended to 110 countries at the beginning of Term 3 of its second year. Among the numerous countries represented included the additions of students from Afghanistan, Cambodia, Ecuador, Finland, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Portugal, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan and Zambia.
June 2011: NYU Collaborates with UoPeople to Accept Students to NYU Abu Dhabi
University of the People established collaboration with New York University (NYU) to identify UoPeople students who are eligible for admission to one of the most selective institutions in the world - NYU Abu Dhabi. High performing students who have studied for at least one year at UoPeople and meet the standards of admission will be eligible to apply for admission to NYU Abu Dhabi. Successful applicants who qualified would also be eligible for financial aid to help enable them to attend.
June 2011: HP Opens Research Internships to UoPeople Students
HP announced the launching of a research internship program with University of the People to help prepare UoPeople students for the world economy. The collaboration was formed as part of the HP Catalyst Initiative, and will allow select students to apply for online research internships, working within the HP Catalyst consortia on various projects across a number of areas, including education, technology and health.
November 2011: UoPeople Partners for a Technology Center in Ramallah, West Bank.
University of the People and Asal Technologies have partnered for a technology center in Ramallah, West Bank. Working together, the technology center will be building upon and enhancing the technology infrastructure of University of the People – offering a unique opportunity to guide the continuance of steady technological development.
February 2012 – UoPeople President Shai Reshef was nominated as one of Wired Magazine’s “50 People Changing the World.”
According to Wired Magazine, UoPeople President Shai Reshef has, “revolutionized the way higher education can be provided to millions of young, capable people in emerging economies.” For this reason, he was nominates as one of fifty people changing the world!
April 2012 – Distinguished Alan T. Waterman Award Winner Dalton Conley Joins UoPeople as Dean of Arts & Sciences
Succeeding Dr. Preetha Ram, who will remain involved with UoPeople as an advisory member of the Arts & Sciences Advisory Committee, Dr. Conley became UoPeople’s new Dean of Arts & Sciences in April 2012. Dr. Conley is also University Professor and Dean for the Social Sciences at New York University. In 2005, Dr. Conley became the first sociologist to win the Alan T. Waterman Award from the National Science Foundation
May 2012 - Presidents of Oxford, NYU, GWU and More Unite Behind UoPeople as Members of a New Council
UoPeople’s Presidents Council is comprised of presidential leadership from top-tier universities around the world. Distinguished members include Oxford Vice Chancellor Emeritus Sir Colin Lucas; New York University President John Sexton; Rector Emeritus Mrs. Michele Gendreau-Massaloux, Head of Research and Higher Education, Union of the Mediterranean; Professor Devang Khakhar, Director of the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay; and George Washington University President Emeritus Steve Trachtenberg.
May 2012 - Further Renowned Scholars and Industry Leaders Support UoPeople and Join Advisory Boards
UoPeople announces the expansion of its Advisory Boards with the additions of Dr. Ariel Kalil, Professor in the Harris School of the University of Chicago, and Director of the Center for Human Potential and Public Policy; Ms. Gabriele Zedlmayer, Vice President of the Office of Social Innovation at Hewlett-Packard (HP); Dr. Shay David, Chief Revenue Officer and Co-founder of Kaltura; and Dr. Terry Fulmer, Professor & Dean of the Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University.
June 2012 - 1,000,000 Support UoPeople on Facebook!
More than a million have voiced their support of opening the gates to higher education by joining UoPeople on Facebook. UoPeople's worldwide presence cannot be understated with supporters hailing from across the globe, including Ghana, United States, Haiti, Indonesia, Malaysia, France, the United Kingdom, Iraq, Peru, Brazil, Afghanistan and more!
July 2012 - UoPeople introduces Women Scholarship Fund – Hewlett-Packard Pledges $200,000 to Educate 100 Women
Shai Reshef announced the UoPeople Scholarship Fund at the DLDWomen12 conference. After announcing the Fund, Gabi Zedlmayer, HP's Sustainability and Social Innovation Vice President, then announced Hewlett-Packard's pledge as the first corporate contributor to the fund to sponsor 100 women in the attainment of Associate degrees.
September 2012 - Google for Non-Profits gives $500,000 to UoPeople!
University of the People is pleased to announce the granting of approximately $500,000 from Google for Non-Profits. This half a million annual grant will be used to spread the word of tuition-free higher education, and assist in UoPeople's mission of opening access to education around the world!
January 2013 - UoPeople unveils additional members to its leadership
UoPeople unveiled an impressive list of additional members to the Board of Trustees, President’s Council and the Business and Computer Science Advisory Boards.
February 2013 - UoPeople at the White House!
President Reshef was invited to the White House on behalf of the University and its innovative education model.
April 2013 - UoPeople visits Haiti for a second time
President Reshef toured Haiti and announced the continuing financial aid for the remaining 150 places for Haitian students.
April 2013 - UoPeople receives numerous grants and donations to support accreditation efforts!
These grants included: $150,000 from Carnegie Corporation New York, $200,000 from Hewlett-Packard, and $50,000 (as part of a larger grant) from the Goodman Family Supporting Foundation. The University also received a $25,000 scholarship from Western Union to support students from thirteen specific countries worldwide.
April 2013 - UoPeople launched innovative Micro-Scholarship Portal
UoPeople launched a unique and highly innovative Micro-Scholarship Portal to support prospective students to obtain scholarships and fund their academic studies with UoPeople.
August 2013 - Microsoft 4Afrika partners with UoPeople
Microsoft 4Afrika announced a scholarship program to give 1,000 students from Africa scholarships to study at UoPeople, as well as access to Microsoft programs and resources.
December 2013 - President Shai Reshef awarded an RSA Fellowship
President Shai Reshef, on behalf of UoPeople, was awarded membership to the British Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) fellowship. This prestigious fellowship connects and engages leaders around the world to inspire positive social change.
February 2014 - UoPeople receives accreditation from the Distance and Education Training Council, a U.S. Department of Education authorized accrediting agency.
After a careful examination of all of UoPeople's academic standards, examination methods, academic personnel, and every aspect of the University, the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), an authorized accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, decided to award UoPeople a seal of accreditation. This is a major recognition of the high quality education offered by University of the People.