AIM: To describe the historical events surrounding the development of the National League for Nursing (NLN) Academic Nurse Educator Certification Program (ANECP) and document its transition from a committee to a commission. BACKGROUND: During the latter half of the 20th century, certification became a demonstrated standard of excellence in nursing. A few visionaries suggested that nursing education itself was a specialty, but the timing for certification was not right. METHOD: The events have been studied through three primary sources: archived minutes, oral interviews, and the authors' eyewitness accounts. RESULTS: Growing pains, personnel changes and the rapid growth from committee to commission occurred during a few short years. While the NLN made sound decisions during the change process by seeking evidence and the guidance of experts and consultants, unexpected challenges occurred. CONCLUSION: The tremendous growth of the ANECP in its first years demonstrated that change was clearly desired so long as it was anchored in an evidence-based process focused on quality.