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Bryant and Stratton College Celebrating 165 Years

The College was founded with the goal of providing practical workplace education. Many years later, Western New York remains the heart of Bryant & Stratton College home to three campuses (Amherst, Buffalo, and Orchard Park), the online division and the College’s Systems Office. Additionally, the College has 15 other campuses, across New York and in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Virginia.

“For over 165 years, Bryant & Stratton College has continuously innovated to meet its constituents’ ever-changing needs. As we celebrate 165 years and I reflect on the rich history of Bryant & Stratton College, I take great pride in the positive impact we have had on the thousands of students we have served; graduates who have made significant social, economic, and workplace contributions to their communities; employers who have hired and promoted our graduates; and the dedicated faculty and staff who have supported them along the way. I am equally as enthusiastic about what is yet to come as we continue to strive to provide the highest-quality career education possible for our students,” says Dr. Francis J. Felser, President and CEO of Bryant & Stratton College.

The College’s founding is remarkable considering that the concept of a “business college” was relatively new in the mid-19th century. Others had tried and failed. Bryant & Stratton began and endured in those turbulent first years due mainly to the tenacity of its founders and early administrators.

While little documentation of the early years exists, the College’s genesis can be traced to H. B. Bryant and his brother-in-law, H. D. Stratton, who organized Bryant & Stratton Mercantile College in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1852. This initial venture expanded into a chain of schools with multiple locations.

Although the campuses of Mercantile College were sold before the dawn of the 20th century, some retained their old name for some time. It is not uncommon still to hear references to former Bryant & Stratton schools in cities including Boston and Chicago. 

It was the Buffalo location of Bryant & Stratton, founded by Dr. J. C. Bryant in 1854 that evolved into today’s Bryant & Stratton College. Bryant & Stratton quickly became a pacesetter in business education. Where no textbooks for this type of education existed, the College published its own. Correspondence training complemented traditional classroom instruction and evening classes were instituted. Academic programs were developed based on input from members of the business community to meet their evolving needs a practice that continues today.

The entrepreneurial flair of its founders has been passed down to present-day Bryant & Stratton College leaders. Just as Mercantile College saw the viability of geographic expansion, Bryant & Stratton saw opportunity outside its home in Buffalo. The College’s era of expansion began in the 1960s and continues to this day. The online division was launched in 1997, offering a variety of online courses to supplement a traditional classroom-based curriculum. Two associate degree programs conducted entirely online were added in 2000. Since then, 19 additional degrees, including two bachelor’s degrees have been added.

Bryant & Stratton physical campuses currently offer seven bachelors’ degrees, 21 associate degrees, and 14 diplomas in areas that include: business, education, design, healthcare, hospitality and human and legal services and technology. 

The College took its first major step toward regional accreditation and launched a self-study in 2000. This process enabled the College to critically examine every facet of its operations. Regional accreditation was granted in 2002, and reaffi rmation was received in 2007 and again in 2017.

Bryant & Stratton College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (267-284-5000). The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

While the words in the College’s mission have changed over the years, the fundamentals have remained constant: Bryant & Stratton College is dedicated to career education. Today’s students are prepared not only for careers upon graduation, but also for a continuum of career-focused learning.

In 2016, Bryant & Stratton College took a bold step toward preparing graduates for their careers and life pursuits. Through the launch of Career LifePrep™, a unique set of experiences that help prepare students at every step in their academic journey both while in school and after graduation, the college offers a distinct advantage over other career and community colleges. No other college offers the same breadth of education and preparation.

The College continues to evolve in other ways as well. This includes athletic programs in seven markets with 24 Bobcats sports teams in the college system. Buffalo relaunched its athletic program in September 2018 with men’s basketball and women’s basketball is starting this fall.

As part of the college’s commitment to remaining contemporary, students now can start their degrees six times a year, with delivery options that include classroom, online and blended formats. Community engagement and employer relationships are important to the college, with numerous partnership opportunities available. With a rich history behind it, the future is bright for Bryant & Stratton College.


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