Your Graduation Caps & Gowns Specialist for Preschool, Kindergarten, and Head Start since 1972.

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Rhyme University

“The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes… who leads you on to the next plateau.” -- Dan Rather

The Rhyme University dream of establishing a company dedicated to providing the highest quality graduation products for young children at the most affordable prices did, indeed, begin with a teacher’s inspiration.

Leon Olson, founder of Rhyme University, was inspired to design a kindergarten diploma after visiting his neighbor's home. His neighbor's daughter had just graduated from kindergarten and proudly presented to him the diploma she had received earlier that day. Mr. Olson was immediately struck by the positive impact this small emblem of achievement could have on young children’s sense of self-esteem and spirit. In turn, he was also terribly dismayed to see that this so-called diploma was really nothing more than a smudgy mimeographed piece of paper, scrawled with the child's name and tied up with a bow. If early learning provided the keys to greater success later in life, then the transition from preschool and/or kindergarten should be marked with no less importance.

An idea began to take shape in Mr. Olson’s mind that there should be an award made available to commemorate this important occasion. Remembering that his neighbor’s child had recited Mother Goose rhymes when asked to show what she had learned in school, he designed the first official “kindergarten diploma,” professionally illustrated with pictures depicting nursery rhyme characters. Based upon the enthusiastic reception of local teachers, he founded The National Diploma Co. in November of 1954.

After retiring in 1972, Mr. Olson sold the company, entrusting its future development to fellow parents and former educators who continue to follow his dream today. As a tribute to Mr. Olson’s original inspiration from Mother Goose, the company was re-christened Rhyme University. In taking the company to the next plateau, the staff here at Rhyme University works directly with teachers and parents in the community, listening to their needs and acting on their suggestions, to expand our product line.

At Rhyme University, we believe that we’ve been able to successfully grow from 121 customers in 1954 to over 20,000 schools worldwide because we have remained true to the original values upon which Mr. Olson founded the company: a strong commitment to quality and unsurpassed customer service. Our mission is to help parents and teachers lead their children “on to the next plateau” by producing top-quality, affordable products that recognize and celebrate early academic achievement and build long-lasting and important memories.

Welcome to the Rhyme University family! We can be reached at 1-877-472-3738.

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