Roger Williams University (RWU) opened in 1919 as a branch campus of Northeastern University. The YMCA Board of Directors took over the school in 1940, closed its doors during World War II, and reopened the school as the YMCA Institute. The first associate’s degrees were granted in 1948.
In 1956, the YMCA Institute became Roger Williams Junior College and began conferring bachelor’s degrees. It moved to its own campus in Bristol in 1969 and was designated a university in 1992.
Today, RWU serves over 3,500 undergraduates with more than 40 majors to choose from. The school strives to provide a liberal arts education that represents the ideals of Roger Williams, the founder of the state of Rhode Island and a staunch advocate for religious freedom, tolerance, and democracy. In pursuit of this goal, students are encouraged to grow both inside and outside the classroom, with an emphasis on civil appreciation and clear communication.