Photo Information

Gen. Alfred M. Gray, then-Commandant of the Marine Corps, breaks ground on the Gray Research Center, which was named afer him. Gen. Carl E. Mundy, then Commandant of the Marines Corps when the building was dedicated, speaks at the dedication ceremony.

Photo by Valerie O'Berry

Formal education of Marines gets its start in 1891

21 Feb 2017 | Valerie O'Berry Marine Corps Base Quantico

Although not formally established until August 1989 by Commandant General Alfred M. Gray, Marine Corps University can trace its historical roots to 1891 through the first officers to attend the School of Application, then located at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C.   Today, the School of Application has evolved into what we know as Officer Candidates School, with the education of Marine officers occurring primarily at Marine Corps Base Quantico since 1919. 

The names and content of the courses have evolved over the years and satellite units have temporarily been located away from their Quantico home, however, the responsibility to give Marines formal education that meets the needs of the ever changing war fighting environment still remains unchanged.

In 1999, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools fully accredited Marine Corps University, to award master’s degrees in some areas. And its mission is to educate all levels of Marines, both officer and enlisted, in advanced leadership, tactics and doctrine. Marine Corps University used experienced veterans returning from combat environments in World War I to pass on knowledge, lessons learned and proper use of tactics to future Marine Corps leaders. Today, that type of strategic vision allows Marine Corps University to continue to provide cutting edge ideas and strategies needed to get the most up-to-date techniques and methodology to the decision makers on the ground in hostile environments near and far.

Providing education to more than 65,000 students per year, Marine Corps University instructs the brightest minds and leaders from the Marine Corps, sister services, Department of Defense civilians and international officers and dignitaries. The university, like the Marine Corps itself, supports a worldwide mission with the College of Distance Education and Training providing programs designed for those students that reside outside the Quantico area. In addition, they have locations at Marine Corps bases in the U.S. and abroad.

At the epicenter of the university is the Alfred M. Gray Research Center, the preeminent research library in the United States military. Opened on May 6, 1993, the Center contains around 500,000 maps, books, reports and other historically significant documents within it’s greater than 100,000 square foot, world-class facility. The influence of the Gray Research Center is not restricted by the walls of the facility due to state-of-the-art technology that allows students from around the globe to access materials in support of their education.    

From noncommissioned to general officers, from leadership basics to advanced amphibious warfare and counterinsurgency operations, the future of the United States Marine Corps is written on Marine Corps Base Quantico within the halls of Marine Corps University. 

Marine Corps Base Quantico