About NAU


The American Way

Everyone has a right to a college education

That’s why we offer numerous opportunities to help you earn your degree whether online, at a campus, or both. After all, your career ambitions are uniquely your own. And with our flexible study plans, relevant degree programs and personal advising from day one, so are your options. Because we believe you should get the opportunity you deserve. That’s the American Way.

Relevant degree programs for real-world success

Earning your degree is about more than just pursuing your passions. You want an education that will not only help you reach your goals but also prepare you for success in your real-world career. We offer over 60 degree programs to help prepare you for today’s top growing industries, including business, information technology, healthcare, and more. And because we understand that education is only as valuable as your instructor,— ours bring real-world experience and success to the classroom and your education.

A personal advisor from day one

After decades of service to our students, we know how to help you succeed. That’s why our support starts before you enroll—and continues until graduation day. Let a personal advisor help you find the degree program that matches your career goals.

A university built around you

Life is busy. We understand. We provide you with options that make sense for your life with a variety of classes offered online or on-campus that help you start building your career skills from day one. We also work hard to make sure you get the credit you deserve by accepting credits earned from other colleges, and grant credit for qualified military training and other real-world experience.

photo-about-nauOur Mission

National American University welcomes students of diverse interests, cultures and abilities and prepares them for careers in technical and professional fields by providing quality higher education in a caring and supportive environment.

The university builds learning partnerships with students and other institutions and organizations locally, nationally and internationally through its private, regionally accredited system of campuses and education centers offering courses in traditional, accelerated and distance learning formats.

As a comprehensive technical and professional institution of higher learning, the university responds to the changing needs of students, employers, and their communities by providing undergraduate and graduate programs and continuing education opportunities to serve an evolving global society.

Core Values

  • Offer high quality instructional programs and services.
  • Provide a caring and supportive learning environment.
  • Offer technical and professional career programs.


  1. Offer quality technical and professional degree programs, as documented by institutional and academic assessment processes at the associate, bachelor’s and graduate level, diplomas, certificates and adult degree completion programs to traditional, adult and international learners.
  2. Provide a general education program to build awareness, abilities and interests to empower lifelong learners as knowledgeable citizens of the global community.
  3. Provide a collegiate experience through instructional and support services that creates a stimulating, caring and supportive learner-centered environment in which students are encouraged to achieve the educational goals established by the university.
  4. Promote a learning and working environment by providing new technologies, methodologies and practices that enhance and extend quality programs and services.
  5. Prepare students to provide leadership and services for the employment needs of business, industry and government worldwide.
  6. Pursue communication, cooperation and alliances with educational institutions, organizations and associations on a local, regional, national and international basis.
  7. Respond to the ever-changing societal demands for personal and professional development and continuing education through flexible scheduling and convenient access via traditional, accelerated and distance delivery methodologies.
  8. Assist students in the development of ethical values and behaviors.
  9. Foster an environment that encourages involvement by employees in the innovation and solution-seeking processes and provide an opportunity for personal and leadership development while promoting diversity in culture and perspective.
  10. Provide a stable institutional environment where human, financial and physical resources are sufficient to accomplish its educational and institutional goals as a sound basis for continued growth and development.

Adopted by the National American University Board of Governors, January 2012

History of NAU

Success is made, not born. In 1941, NAU opened its doors to students in Rapid City, South Dakota who desired specialized business training. Located on a Rapid City main street, the founder of the university, Clarence Jacobesen, strived to bring unique opportunity to fulfill a need. This vision continued to grow with the university and evolved with Harold D. Buckingham who acquired the school in 1962.

Anticipating a demand for business leaders after World War II and the Korean Wars, the university was ready with new classes in accounting, marketing and management.  The programs were geared toward the educational needs of returning veterans who sought an expanded role in the business world.  NAU believes that a university should be built around the needs of its students— that’s why we spent decades cultivating opportunities like this to meet those needs. And as NAU continued to expand in both its geographical locations and its faculty and staff, the focus remained on Harold D. Buckingham's belief in providing everyone the opportunity to pursue their education.

In 1998, NAU developed online courses to once again fulfill a need and continue to provide learning as a powerful pathway for working adults. Today the university includes over 35 campuses across 11 states offering degrees in today’s top growing industries including business, accounting, information technology, healthcare, criminal justice, and more.

And because caring for a student is as important as educating them—we offer degree options that meet their goals, flexibility for their lifestyles and a personal advisor to help them the whole way through.

You deserve an education. We provide the opportunity. That’s the American Way.