History and Mission

The University's Mission

Fairleigh Dickinson University is a center of academic excellence dedicated to the preparation of world citizens through global education. The University strives to provide students with the multi-disciplinary, intercultural, and ethical understandings necessary to participate, lead, and prosper in the global marketplace of ideas, commerce and culture.

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Founded in 1942 by Dr. Peter Sammartino and his wife, Sylvia (Sally), Fairleigh Dickinson University has grown into the largest private university in New Jersey. Today, more than 12,000 students from 32 states and 72 countries are enrolled on the University's two campuses in northern New Jersey and its international campuses in Wroxton, England and Vancouver, Canada. Beginning as a two-year junior college, Fairleigh Dickinson expanded to a four-year curriculum in 1948 to fill the need for higher education in northern New Jersey. In 1954, the first graduate program, a master's degree in business administration, was offered, and Bergen Junior College was purchased as a second campus, Teaneck. In 1956, Fairleigh Dickinson gained University status and, one year later, the 178-acre Vanderbilt-Twombly estate was acquired in Madison to serve as a third campus (College at Florham).

FDU became the first American university to own a campus in England when it acquired Wroxton College from Trinity College, Oxford University. Opened in 1965, Wroxton College offers American students an array of graduate and undergraduate programs as well as an enriching cultural experience. Formerly a 13th-century abbey, Wroxton College is now a beautifully restored and modernized Jacobean mansion. In 2007, FDU commenced undergraduate classes at a new facility in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Recognizing that the student profile on most U.S. campuses is changing dramatically, the University's Petrocelli College of Continuing Studies (originally New College of General and Continuing Studies) was formed in 1998 to provide a unified approach to and enhanced focus on the adult learner and to continue to position FDU as a leader in providing learning opportunities in a strong academic foundation for students of all ages.

FDU has maintained its commitment to broadening global horizons and fostering greater international understanding. In 2000, the Board of Trustees adopted a newly focused mission for FDU: to prepare students for world citizenship through global education.

Each of the University campuses has a unique character and vitality. Students benefit from studying at a comprehensive university that offers a wide range of programs and courses, but they also enjoy an atmosphere of warmth and personal attention usually found at much smaller institutions.

Today, FDU offers over 100 degree programs at the associate, baccalaureate, master's and doctor's levels. Its wide range of offerings, coupled with the depth and expertise of its faculty, has Fairleigh Dickinson University poised to serve the citizens of New Jersey and beyond.