Sylvan Ventures Exercises Option to Acquire Controlling Interest in Walden University

February 21, 2002

Sylvan Ventures LLC, a subsidiary of Sylvan Learning Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:SLVN), today announced it has exercised its option to acquire an additional 10% interest in Walden University, a leading online university offering Ph.D. and other graduate-level degree programs in education, management, and the social and behavioral sciences.

The $8 million investment gives Sylvan Ventures a controlling, 51% stake in Walden approximately one year after it acquired 41% ownership of the accredited online university.

“The past year has proven the wisdom of our original investment in Walden University, and made our decision to acquire a controlling interest a logical next step,” said R. Christopher Hoehn-Saric, chairman and chief executive officer of Sylvan Ventures. “Walden’s partnership with Sylvan Learning Systems’ Online Higher Education division has produced strong enrollment growth, new programs and curricula, and enhanced visibility.”

Sylvan’s controlling interest in Walden University will lead to the sharing of even more resources, marketing and product development know-how by Sylvan Learning Systems companies and divisions, according to Paula Singer, president and chief executive officer of Sylvan’s Online Higher Education division.

“Walden University and Sylvan Learning Systems have a relatively short, but very important history of success to build on,” she said. “The year-long relationship between Walden and Sylvan’s Canter and Associates teacher education subsidiary, for example, has resulted in approximately 1,000 new education master’s degree students for Walden. Sylvan Ventures’ new investment will allow us to accelerate and expand such opportunities. Moving forward, we will work with Walden to develop specific vertical discipline expertise similar to what Canter has brought Walden in education. These will likely include such disciplines as business management, health and human services, psychology, engineering and information technology.”

Coincident with the Sylvan Ventures announcement, Walden announced additions to its management team and board of directors. Dr. Paula Peinovich was appointed to the new position of executive vice president and provost of Walden University. As Walden’s chief academic officer, Dr. Peinovich will be responsible for the quality and integrity of Walden’s academic degree and non-degree programs.

Previously, Dr. Peinovich was vice president for academic affairs at Excelsior College in Albany, New York.

In addition, Walden University named a new member to its board of directors: Dr. William G. Durden, president of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and former director of the Center for Talented Youth at The Johns Hopkins University.

“We are thrilled to add to an already strong roster of leadership at Walden University,” said Walden Chief Executive Officer Dr. Robert Scales. “Their vision and leadership will serve Walden students, faculty and staff very well, and will reinforce Walden’s reputation as America’s premier online university.”

About Walden University

Walden University provides high-quality, graduate-level education to students worldwide. Walden’s programs, most of which are delivered directly to any desktop or laptop in the world, significantly reduce or eliminate student travel costs and time away from professional and personal commitments.

Founded in 1970, Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and has graduated thousands of students from all 50 states and more than 30 countries.

About Sylvan Learning Systems’ Online Higher Education Division

Sylvan’s Online Higher Education (OHE) division provides centralized management of three post-secondary education units in addition to Walden University:

  • Canter & Associates, the largest teacher training organization in the United States, annually serves more than 35,000 K-12 teachers with graduate and professional development courses,

    and more than 10,000 teachers enrolled in graduate degree programs offered through partner institutions.

  • Sylvan Teachers Institute, which offers school districts a

    range of services to support teacher certification and professional development.

  •, a leading supplier of online continuing

    adult education courses.

Canter master’s degree program enrollment of 10,500, in addition to Walden University enrollment of more than 1,600 students, would make Sylvan’s Online Higher Education division the second largest for-profit provider of university-level, degree-granting distance learning programs.

About Sylvan Learning Systems, Inc.

Sylvan Learning Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:SLVN) is the leading provider of education services to families and schools worldwide. The Sylvan Learning Centers and Sylvan Education Solutions businesses provide personalized instruction services to K-12 students through direct consumer relationships and under contract to school systems.

Sylvan provides courses to adult students throughout the world in the areas of teacher training, accredited university offerings, and English language, through the Online Higher Education, Sylvan International Universities and Wall Street Institute businesses. Sylvan Ventures, Sylvan’s research and investment vehicle, focuses on bringing emerging technology solutions to the education and training marketplace. For more information, visit