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The History of Alliant International University

Alliant was formed on July 1, 2001 by the combination of two legacy institutions: The California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) and United States International University (USIU). Each of these institutions was a pioneer in higher education.

CSPP was established in 1969 under the auspices of the California Psychological Association and was one of the first freestanding schools of professional psychology in the nation. Founding President, Dr. Nicholas Cummings was later president of the American Psychological Association. CSPP has trained nearly half of the practicing psychologists in California. Notable alumni include: Rose Weahkee, PhD, director, Division of Behavioral Health, Indian Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); Cornell University Professor and noted author Dr. Peggy Drexler; and Dr. Judy Chu, the first Chinese-American woman elected to the United States Congress.

USIU has roots that extend back to 1924, when Leland Ghent Stanford founded the Balboa College of Law in San Diego. In 1952, Balboa was reorganized as California Western University. Today’s Cal Western Law School in San Diego, an independent institution, is a product of this same history. In 1967, the university was reorganized again as USIU, with a new mission focused on international education. USIU operated campuses in San Diego, London, Mexico City, and Nairobi among others. USIU-Africa, in Kenya, is now an independent offshoot of the former USIU. During the 1970s, USIU became a center for humanistic psychology with a faculty that included Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow, and Victor Frankl. H. Igor Ansoff, one of the founders of the field of strategic management, was also a long-time faculty member. Notable alumni include former California Lt. Governor and US Congressman Dr. Mervyn Dymally and Mizan Zainal Abidin, the King of Malaysia, among others.

The most recent addition (in 2010) to the Alliant family of schools, the San Francisco Law School (SFLS), has an interesting legacy of its own. Established in 1909, SFLS was the first evening law program in the western United States and was among the first law schools to actively recruit women. SFLS continues to focus on students who may not have opportunities for traditional legal education. Outstanding alumni include former California State Governor, the late Edmund (Pat) Brown, former Lt. Governor Leo McCarthy, former Undersecretary of the United States Department of Energy, Joseph Salgado, former President of the California State Bar, P. Terry Anderlini, former President of the National Bar Association, Thomas Broome, and former State Senator Milton Marks.

In 2015, Alliant International University joined Arist Education System’s global network of universities dedicated to health and human sciences. As a result, Alliant transitioned to a benefit corporation structure that enables the university to attract capital investments to further enhance program offerings, technology, student services, and student outcomes while retaining a primary commitment to Alliant’s social benefit mission of education and professional training.  

2015 also saw the creation of the Alliant Educational Foundation, an independent, non-profit organization that operates in coordination with and as partial owner of the university. The foundation oversees scholarships, donations, grants, contracts, research and clinical training, and professional service centers affiliated with the university.

Today, Alliant is comprised of five schools (Alliant School of Management, California School of Professional Psychology, California School of Forensic Studies, San Francisco School, and the Hufstedler School of Education) in six California cities (Fresno, Irvine, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco) and three international locations (Mexico City, Tokyo and Hong Kong).