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Ashford University

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Ashford University is a private, coeducational liberal arts university located in Clinton, Iowa known for the nostalgia of a historic lumber town and located along the famous Mississippi River. The University offers Associate's, Bachelor's and Master's degrees in a variety of different career programs.

The most notable building on campus is St. Clare Hall, which has served as the Mount St. Clare Convent, Novitiate, Academy, and College. Today, the lower floors in St. Clare Hall house administrative and support staff, while the upper floors contain classrooms. The newest building on campus is the Durgin Educational Center, which houses Kehl Arena, the athletics department, and the animation lab.

Ashford University was founded in 1891, the same year the introduced motion pictures by showing the 1st motion picture to National Federation of Women's Clubs. Father John Murray invited the Sisters of St. Francis to help teach courses for the Clinton, Iowa University. Two years later in 1893 the Sisters were able to purchase some land in Clinton, on which they established their mother house and the Mount St. Clare Academy, a prep school for girls. Due to the popularity of the University, In 1910, the mother house and the academy moved into the newly constructed Mount St. Clare building.

Seeing a need for teachers in Clinton County as well as the surrounding area, the Sisters founded Mount St. Clare College. Mount St. Clare College was the direct predecessor to Ashford University. At that time, the Mount St. Clare Academy, College, and Convent were all housed in the same building, which is still in use today.

The 1950s and 1960s marked a period of expansion. In 1950, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools first accredited Mount St. Clare College. Following the accreditation, the school quickly began to increase the school by adding an adjoining convent building, which the sisters moved into in 1958. Soon after that, a new library, gym and the Science Hall (which also houses the Children's Center) was opened. In 1967, the college became coeducational.

For the 1979 - 1980 school year, the college received approval for its first four-year degree, a bachelor's program in business administration. The following year, the Mount St. Clare Academy merged with St. Mary's High School in Clinton, forming Mater Dei High School (now know as Prince of Peace Academy). With the space freed by the academy's merger, the school began to offer additional four year programs. In 1997, the sisters moved off campus into their new mother house, The Canticle. In 1998, the Durgin Educational Center was opened, which included new athletic facilities, including Kehl arena.

In 2002, Mount St. Clare College began to offer a Master's program over the internet. In concurrence with the expanded course offerings, the school changed its name a couple of times until in September 2004, the school modified its name to The Franciscan University of the Prairies.

In 2005 Bridgepoint Education, Inc., a higher education organization, acquired the institution and its name was changed to Ashford University.

Not only has Ashford University helped thousands of students move ahead in life with quality career programs; but Ashford University participates in a variety of special interest organizations. In November of 2006 Ashford University Sponsored the Special Olympics Tennis Clinic and Phi Beta Lambda is currently (November 2006) participating in Toys for Tots.

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