LYNNWOOD — Dr. Herman DeVry first opened DeForest Training School, named after his friend Lee DeForest, in 1931 in Chicago.
Classes at that time were geared toward careers in motion pictures, electronics, radio, nuclear instrumentation and the nascent television industry.
On a wall in the DeVry University Lynnwood campus hangs a memento from that era before the Internet, virtual classes and Apple computers.
Former student and local resident Lloyd S. Pedersen who graduated in 1940 having studied radio, sound and television, gifted his diploma, framed for all to see.
While DeVry University still offers classes in the fields that Pedersen graduated in, the school’s 80-year longevity incorporates so much more for students to contemplate when choosing a degree for their career field.
In 2011, DeVry University Lynnwood became one of 95 locations throughout the United States to offer online and onsite classes for thousands of students working toward associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fields including business and management, media arts and technology, and engineering and information systems.
“We call ourselves the career university,” said Catrin Hechl, dean of the Lynnwood center.
The Lynnwood campus is part of the DeVry University Seattle Metro area that includes Federal Way, Bellevue and Lynnwood.
Hechl believes that the most important component to helping students meet their goals is DeVry’s student support approach.
Typically when students go to college they can find themselves in a situation where they need help finding this class or getting that supply, or directions on where to go in a new area.
“We are here to help with any kind of educational needs that people might have,” Hechl said.
DeVry staff goes above and beyond by helping students find child care, financial help and talking through their “life happens” issues to keep them on their educational track.
The Lynnwood campus has state-of-the-art equipment in eight classrooms, including an advanced technology classroom.
“Students can have a virtual class experience,” Hechl said.
Whether three or 30 students, they can take part in virtual classes held anywhere on the West Coast.
Students can travel further afield in person through the college’s student abroad program, which this year included Austria and Hungary.
DeVry staff also takes a keen interest in being part of the local community and reach out to businesses and groups.
The school offers space to local business to hold workshops and classes on campus. Some mornings the halls are full of chatter and coffee cups when DeVry hosts networking events with Economic Alliance Snohomish County.
“It’s a very strong partnership,” Hechl said.
Hechl also lends her services to Edmonds School District’s Natural Leaders Program. It’s sponsored by the Washington Alliance for Better Schools and helps refugee and immigrant families settle into the area and get their children accustomed to school.
DeVry University Lynnwood is a year-round school and accommodates many working students who can enroll in online or onsite classes, mixing both to realize their educational goals to fit in with their “life” schedule.
Some students may have returned to finish a degree and others might have put off school to raise a family or go to work.
“DeVry works really well for that,” Hechl said. “It really does.”