Today’s Hours

Gelman Library:

Ask Us

Benjamin Franklin University

Benjamin Franklin University, formerly Pace Institute, merged with The George Washington University in 1987 within the School of Business and Public Management.

In 1907, Homer S. Pace established the Washington Branch of Pace Institute, offering the first professional accounting courses in the District of Columbia. Pace, noted for composing the definition of Accountancy, established the school to primarily meet the needs of the part-time student. For some nine years, Pace Institute offered the only available accounting courses in Washington, D.C.

In 1925, Benjamin Franklin University was organized and incorporated to succeed Pace Institute. The Founder and President, John Thomas Kennedy, established the University as a continuation of the Pace courses to provide the part-time student with a professional education in Accountancy, Financial Administration and General Business. Kennedy, a fourth generation Philadelphian, was a staunch admirer of the principles of thrift and self-reliance advocated by Benjamin Franklin and thus named the University after the fellow-Philadelphian.

In its charter, the University was authorized to confer Academic Degrees for both undergraduate and post-graduate work. Under the Act of March 2, 1929, Benjamin Franklin University was licensed by the District of Columbia Board of Education to confer the Associate in Business Administration, the Bachelor of Commercial Science and the Master of Commercial Science. At the time it merged with GW it was accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Association of Independent Colleges and Schools.

The faculty consisted of men whose success in the practice of accountancy, auditing, law and taxation was widely recognized. The graduates distinguished themselves in the field of Accountancy and accomplished many notable "firsts" in the United States. From 1925 to 1938, the University offered its day and evening courses on the third floor of the Transportation Building at 17th and H Streets, NW. On January 1, 1938, the University moved to 1100 Sixteenth Street, just four blocks north of the White House grounds. By the 1980s, Benjamin Franklin University offered the Associate, Bachelor, and Master's Degrees in the fields of Accountancy and Financial Management.

In 1987, an agreement was signed that merged Benjamin Franklin University and The George Washington University. President Lloyd Elliott stated that "The agreement provides an excellent opportunity for qualified Benjamin Franklin University students to continue their education." In 1992, the Benjamin Franklin Chair was established in the School of Business and Public Management.