Stories of the Centennial

Setting Standards for Career Education: A 100-Year Perspective

Setting Standards coverNow available for purchase, the history of ACICS is captured in Setting Standards: 100 Years of Accredited Career Education, a newly illustrated volume by Virginia author Bob Cohen. Setting Standards illustrates the motivation behind self-governance and voluntary quality assurance of private career colleges and schools. While the history describes many aspects of an evolving, national organization with many functions related to membership, the core enterprise was and is the assurance of educational quality and the preservation of institutional integrity.
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Preview portions of Setting Standards here.




From the Beginning

Stephen D. ParkerVersatile Accreditation Leader Led ACICS Through Change
Dr. Stephen Parker could never be accused of keeping his opinions to himself. A passionate believer in private career schools, he was recognized as an ACICS Commissioner, an evaluator, a staff member and a school administrator before he was named the agency’s Executive Director in 1992.
Click here to learn more about Stephen Parker.



James PhillipsA Seasoned Higher Education Administrator Brings Opportunity to ACICS

James M. Phillips served as Executive Director of the Association of Independent Colleges and Schools (AICS) from 1979 until 1992. Under his leadership, AICS extended its accreditation services to master’s level programs and saw schools begin to expand their program offerings beyond the secretarial and business foundation upon which the agency was launched.
Click here to learn more about Jim Phillips.



Richard FultonRichard Fulton Nurtured Educational Quality and Wool

When Richard Fulton, ACICS’ first full-time executive director, was not busy attending to the flock of career colleges and schools, he was raising and marketing exotic sheep on his farm in Pennsylvania. Known in higher education circles for serving as executive director and general counsel of ACICS from 1962 to 1976, he was also named Conservation Farmer of the Year in 1990 for his involvement with sheep production.

A Washington, D.C. lawyer who first came to the nation’s capitol in 1961 as an aide to Senator Allen J. Ellender of Louisiana, Fulton spent three years as an attorney for the state of Louisiana before he was persuaded to leave Capitol Hill and take the helm of the predecessor organization to ACICS.
Click here to read the rest of Richard Fulton’s story.


Benjamin Franklin WilliamsTeaching, Character and Inspiration: Reflections on Founder Benjamin Franklin Williams

On a stormy evening in Chicago 1912, the president of Capital City Commercial College in Des Moines, Iowa summoned 22 administrators from other business schools to the Hotel LaSalle to talk about ethical standards for operating their institutions. His name was Benjamin Franklin Williams, and his legacy of integrity is the foundation of the organization known today as ACICS.

The predecessor organization that Williams founded, the National Association of Accredited Commercial Schools (NAACS), was established “to develop and maintain higher educational, business, and ethical standards in commercial education, and insofar as may be legal, proper and desirable, to protect the interest and enlarge the usefulness of member schools.”

When Williams died in 1954, those who reflected on his life noted: “…his influence will go down through the years in the lives of thousands of young people who were influenced by his teaching and his character … and in the lives of hundreds of teachers and managers of business schools who drew inspiration from his life and work.”

Read more about our organization’s history in the ACICS Centennial history book, “100 Years of Advancing Excellence in Education” (to be published in 2012).


Student Spotlight

We want you!

We are looking for stories from students or graduates of ACICS-accredited institutions who have worked hard, faced adversity, graduated and achieved success in their lives because of the education they received and the opportunities afforded to them by attending one of our schools.

Click here to submit your student success story for a chance to be featured on or in a future edition of the Centennial newsletter.

Read More Student Success Stories

Designing Green in India
Sangeetha Balakrishnan

Having the Courage to Take a Fresh Start
Martin Ferguson

A Better Tomorrow is Only a Step Away
Raushandah White

Students with the Courage to Succeed
By Melanie Gonzalez

Pinnacle Career Institute Military Graduate Travels to Capitol Hill to Share Her Story on Behalf of For-Profit Colleges
November 14, 2011

California Miramar University Awards Masters of Business Administration Graduate Annette Gregg the Outstanding Graduate Award
October 25, 2011


Evaluator Profiles

ACICS’ peer evaluators are on the front lines of the accreditation process every day.

Evaluators play a critical role in the deliberate, thorough accreditation of institutions, ensuring quality, institutional enhancement, and adherence to ethical business and educational practices. These valued individuals are recognized for their dedication and willingness to give back to higher education by serving on evaluation teams and reviewing member institutions fairly, without bias, and according to established standards.

Click here to submit your personal story and tell us why you became an ACICS peer evaluator. How do ACICS-accredited schools impact the students and faculty at the schools you evaluate?