John F. Kennedy University




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Our History

John F. Kennedy University has been an innovative educational institution in the San Francisco Bay Area since it opened in Martinez, California, in 1965 with just over 50 students.

The University's mission is to provide new opportunities in higher education for working men and women who, despite a full range of life responsibilities, are determined to earn the benefits of advanced education to improve their future.

JFK University pioneered the commitment to lifelong learning for adults in the Bay Area; such opportunities were not available at the time in any other part of the California state education system.

Throughout its existence, JFK University has expanded its programs and services, added and changed locations, maintained its innovative whole-person approach, and increased its enrollment and alumni in the process of fulfilling its mission.

Today, the University serves nearly 2,000 students who study for undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. We honor more than 12,000 alumni who apply their education locally and around the world. And each year we touch the lives of more than 30,000 people in Bay Area communities through outreach centers and a variety of public programs.

During its 45 years as an educational innovator, JFK University has created programs in new fields such as Integral Theory, Museum Studies, Sport Psychology, and Holistic Health. In established fields such as management, psychology, and law, JFK University carved special niches for talented, experienced, lifelong learners who value education rooted in practice, taught by seasoned professionals, and offered on schedules that accommodate busy adults.

In 2004, JFK University opened a new permanent campus in Pleasant Hill, easily accessible to the 680 freeway, for programs in Continuing Education and all five JFK University schools: Graduate School of Professional Psychology, School of Education and Liberal Arts, School of Holistic Studies, School of Law, and School of Management. Also, in 2004, the Museum Studies program joined the Arts and Consciousness program at our Berkeley campus.

JFK University continues to grow, extending the breadth and reach of its programs. The Berkeley campus has grown to now offer courses from the School of Law and a fast-track two-year Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology cohort program. And the University has gone online, beginning with the first Master of Arts and Certificate programs in Integral Theory, offered in conjunction with the Integral Institute.

Service to the community also remains a significant component of the mission of John F. Kennedy University. It continues to provide affordable mental health services through its counseling centers in Pleasant Hill, Sunnyvale and Oakland, which celebrated its 25 years of service to the Bay Area in 2007. The University now also has law clinics on its Pleasant Hill and Berkeley campuses, providing free legal services to low-income clients in the areas of housing and criminal defense

Today, JFK University’s College of Professional Studies, College of Undergraduate Studies, College of Law, and Continuing Education Department offer more than 20 certificate and degree programs at the University’s three Bay Area locations and online.

Our History

John F. Kennedy University is an affiliate of the National University System.