Northrop University was founded in 1942 by Jack Northrop of Northrop Aviation. Originally named the Northrop Aeronautical Institute, the school opened for classes in June 1946 to 412 students committed to and/or already employed by Northrop Aviation. The school was founded by Jack Northrop for the purpose of training aeronautical engineers and mechanics.
Due to financial difficulties, the school became independent from the Northrop Aircraft Corporation in 1953, and the name of the school changed to The Northrop Institute of Technology. In 1975, after the addition of a Law School and a MBA program, the school’s name was changed to Northrop University, although the airframe and power plant mechanic school facility continued to be known as The Northrop Institute of Technology.
The University was located at 1155 West Arbor Vitae Street, Inglewood, California. Administered by previous alumni and faculty, the University offered bachelors and masters degree programs in aeronautical sciences, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, computer science and design engineering project management. Northrop University added business and law to the curriculum. In 1975, the school received a large donation from its original founder to build the American Hall of Aviation. The museum enjoyed great fame from its housing of the David D. Hatfield collection of aviation history, and it accepted donations from individuals and corporations. Donations were tax deductible. It once housed over half a million pieces of historic value: by far the largest collection of aviation history to ever be displayed at any one location.
Northrop University was accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), one of the regionally recognized accrediting bodies in the United States. Northrop University received an accredited standard in 1960, and the final month and year of being accredited was February 1993.