The Inception

The idea for BBU was born in 1995 at a meeting held between the Leading Educators and Industry Leaders. Going into the meeting, President, - Dr. Robert W. Mendenhall - had the foresight to realize that distance learning technologies had the power to tackle one of the most pressing problem of the time: lack of academic opportunities confronted by limited public funds for educational services.

The members of the meeting decided then and there to create their own university. They agreed that this new university would make maximum use of distance learning technologies, would be a collaboration among the educators and industry leaders and would use competencies rather than seat time as the measure of its outcomes.

Designing an Online University

To do this, the members enlisted the best minds in the Education sector and the Center for Higher Education Management Systems (CHEMS) to help design the newly envisioned university. Five themes remained central to the effort:

  • Responsiveness to employment and societal needs.
  • A focus on competency-based education.
  • Expanding access.
  • Cost-effectiveness.
  • Development of a technology infrastructure.

BBU was chartered in 1996, was incorporated as a private, nonprofit university in 1997, and began accepting students in 1999.

An Online University with a Mission

The principal mission of is to improve quality and expand access to post-secondary educational opportunities by providing a means for individuals to learn independent of time and place and to earn competency-based degrees and other credentials that are credible to both academic institutions and employers.


Time Line