When Bill Brooks met with his fellow members of the Bellevue, Nebraska, Chamber of Commerce in June 1965, the No. 1 agenda item was discussion of creating a new college in Bellevue. The time and place were perfect, he reasoned, as Bellevue was a growing city, home to Offutt Air Force Base as well as a large contingent of potential college-age students. Brooks requested five minutes on the agenda, but his fellow chamber members grew so intrigued by the topic that discussion stretched past 30 minutes.
From those humble beginnings, Bellevue College –Bellevue University since 1994 – was born. Brooks and his Chamber of Commerce colleagues spearheaded the founding of Bellevue College in 1966, a year after that initial meeting at a Bellevue Steak House. Since then, Bellevue University has grown and established itself as one of the worldwide leaders in adult education, serving nearly 10,000 students annually (2013) at 10 locations in three states – and everywhere online. Bellevue University was one of the first accredited institutions to offer online degree programs, in 1996, and the first to offer a Master of Business Administration degree online. In 1987, the University offered its first accelerated degree completion program, the Bachelor of Professional Studies.