Suffolk University founded in 1906 to create opportunity for all
Suffolk University grew from humble beginnings in the Roxbury parlor of Gleason L. Archer, a young lawyer who had worked his way through high school and college. A chance meeting brought the young graduate together with a benefactor who loaned him money to pursue the study of law, asking only that Archer pass along the favor.
In 1906, Archer opened the Suffolk School of Law, a night school established to “serve ambitious young men who are obliged to work for a living while studying law.” He believed that the growing waves of immigrants arriving in America should be given the educational opportunities that were then reserved for the wealthy few.
In the heart of the city
Archer soon moved the school into his downtown law offices. The centralized location immediately made the school more convenient to students and, in time, opened doors to innumerable collaborations with government, business, and cultural entities.
In 1908 machinist and Archer student Roland E. Brown passed the bar. News of Brown’s achievement led to a boost in registration, so Archer gave up his law practice to devote himself full-time to the Suffolk School of Law.
By 1930, Archer’s creation had grown into one of the largest law schools in the country.
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences — later renamed the College of Arts and Sciences — was founded in 1934 in response to the recommended standard that law students possess a college degree and because Archer wanted to create “a great evening university” that working people could afford.
Three years later, in 1937, the College of Business Administration — now the Sawyer Business School — was established.
The three academic units were incorporated as Suffolk University in 1937, and, over the years, the University broadened its night-school approach to offer a complete range of full- and part-time programs.
The post-war years brought an influx of veterans and renewed prosperity for the nation. Extracurricular activities now flourished – and with them a growing sense of community among the students.
The University celebrated its 2006 Centennial with a year-long series of events reflecting on the University’s history and looking ahead to a new century of innovation and opportunity.
The University today
Building on the promise of its founding, Suffolk University continues to anticipate and respond to the needs of a diverse student body. Through carefully designed curriculum, mentoring, networking, and service learning, the University creates opportunities that help students to meet their goals.
The College of Arts and Sciences now offers programs at the baccalaureate, master, and doctoral levels. The New England School of Art & Design, founded in 1923, became a department within the College in 1996.The Sawyer Business School emphasizes global business practice in undergraduate and graduate programs in business administration, public administration, and health administration. Sawyer also offers continuing education certification programs and an online MBA.
The Law School offers Juris Doctor and Master of Laws degrees. Its expansive curriculum combines a strong academic foundation with expertise in an array of specialty areas. Nationally known faculty and a range of practical experiences provide superior preparation for law practice in the 21st century.
The University also offers more than a dozen joint degree programs.
Diverse student body
Students today hail from across the nation and around the world. They come from a variety of economic and cultural backgrounds. Students may register at the University’s Madrid campus, and partnerships with institutions throughout the world allow for many additional international study and internship opportunities.
The onetime commuter school now has four residence halls, so students living on campus fully experience the academic and cultural promise of the urban environment. Classrooms, libraries, theaters, galleries, and offices are housed in buildings clustered in downtown Boston, with the historic Boston Common serving as the unofficial campus quad.