Presidio Graduate School is a relatively young institution with a forty-three year heritage.

While its setting and academic programs are new, its vision, values, and philosophy are based largely on the experience of its predecessor, World College West, an accredited work-study, world-study liberal arts college founded in 1973 and operated on its 194-acre environmentally designed campus in Marin County until 1992. Its experiential learning philosophy was based on the premise that only disciplined reflection on experience leads to learning that lasts. At World College West that included seminar-size classes, work experience, and a year’s study in a non-Western culture such as China, Mexico, Russia, or Nepal.

Beginning in 1993,  a new institution, Presidio World College, began offering non-degree courses in a program known as Sustainable Later-Life Design, focusing on areas contributing to an integrated, sustainable second half of life: Purposeful Work, Physical Well-Being, Economic Security, Spiritual Grounding, Meaningful Relationships, and Commitment to the Community.  The school also worked collaboratively with AARP and developed programs co-sponsored by Elderhostel, which was seeking ways to serve younger, midlife adults.

As result of these early experiences, the board and administration were increasingly interested in developing sustainability-oriented degree programs. In 1999, Goddard College in Vermont signed a contract with the school to develop and pilot, during the 2000-01 academic year, a BA-completion program known as S E E D (Sustainable, Ethical, Enterprise Design).

Research revealed a burgeoning interest in sustainability-related graduate-level education.  The need was strongest among professionals seeking an MBA degree which integrated sustainability principles throughout all business management disciplines.

In 2003, the school, now named the Presidio School of Management, began conducting an MBA program with a concentration in Sustainable Management in affiliation with Alliant International University. We welcomed 22 students into our very first cohort.

In 2009, the school was renamed Presidio Graduate School.

In 2011, PGS began the first Masters in Public Administration with a concentration in Sustainable Management degree program. Next, foreseeing that the most complex problems facing society would require multi-sector solutions, the first Dual MBA/MPA Degree in Sustainable Management was launched.

In 2014 PGS separated from Alliant International University and became independently accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission, a regional accrediting agency serving  public and private higher education institutions throughout California, Hawaii, and the Pacific.

In 2016, PGS merged with Pinchot University in Seattle, combining  the institutions to become the pre-eminent educational institution offering academic programs focused exclusively on sustainability studies.

In 2018, PGS joined a partnership with Amity University to expand its innovative curriculum to more students. Amity University is one of Asia’s leading non-profit private education groups and has a strong commitment to excellence in education, social justice, and environmental responsibility. 

In 2019, the Seattle and San Francisco campuses were consolidated to a single location in San Francisco, bringing together the entire student body. 

To date, more than 1800 graduates have earned the MBA and MPA and Dual Degrees. Our uniquely equipped alumni are leading the sustainability movement in business, government, non-profit, and non-government organizations around the world.