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Gonzaga University (also known as Gonzaga or GU) /ɡɒnˈzæɡə/ is a private, Roman Catholic university in Spokane, Washington.[4][5] It is accredited, as an institution, by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.[6] Founded in 1887 by the Society of Jesus, the university is named for the young Jesuit saint Aloysius Gonzaga. It is one of 28 member institutions of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.[7] The campus houses 105 buildings on 152 acres (62 ha) of grassland alongside the Spokane River, in a residential setting one-half-mile (800 m) from downtown Spokane.

Gonzaga University
Gonzaga University coat of arms.svg
Latin: Universitas Gonzagae
Former names
Gonzaga College
MottoAd majorem Dei gloriam (Latin)
Motto in English
For the Greater Glory of God
TypePrivate Non-profit
EstablishedSeptember 17, 1887
AffiliationRoman Catholic (Jesuit)
Endowment$276.0 million (2018)[1]
PresidentThayne McCulloh
Academic staff
418 Full-time
Students7,501 (Fall 2017)[2]
Undergraduates5,210 (Fall 2017)[2]
Postgraduates2,291 (Fall 2017)[2]
Location, ,
United States

47°40′03″N 117°24′09″W / 47.6675°N 117.4025°W / 47.6675; -117.4025Coordinates: 47°40′03″N 117°24′09″W / 47.6675°N 117.4025°W / 47.6675; -117.4025
CampusUrban, 152 acres (61.5 ha)
ColorsBlue and White[3]
AthleticsNCAA Division IWCC
MascotSpike the Bulldog
Gonzaga University Logo.svg

The university was founded by Father Joseph Cataldo, SJ, an Italian-born priest and missionary.[8]

The university has bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and doctoral degrees through its seven colleges – the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business Administration, School of Education, School of Engineering & Applied Science, School of Law, School of Nursing and Human Physiology, and the School of Professional Studies.[9][10]



Gonzaga University was founded in 1887 by Italian-American Joseph Cataldo (1837–1928), who had come in 1865 as a Jesuit missionary to the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest. In 1880 Cataldo built a schoolhouse about 10 to 12 mi (16 to 19 km) northeast of Spokane on the Peone Prairie, to serve children of the Upper Spokane Indians. Cataldo was concerned about the influence and expansion of Protestant schools on the region's native people, and by 1881 was discussing building a Jesuit college with other Jesuit leaders. The Jesuits chose a location at Spokane Falls (later Spokane) due to its centrality in the Washington, Idaho and Montana region. The Jesuits purchased 320 acres of prime real estate in the city's central business district north of the Spokane River for $936. The Northern Pacific Railway was holding the land in reserve, but Cataldo was able to convince railroad executive John W. Sprague to allow the sale to build the school.[11]:31–38 The City of Spokane offered to help pay to build the new college, on the condition that it be a whites only school, in spite of Cataldo's original purpose to educate the local native population.[5] Cataldo's letters seeking the support Church leadership in Rome warned that Methodists and other Protestants were building schools and that the City funding could go to them if the Catholic school was not built soon enough.[5]

Construction was delayed until 1886, and the school opened in 1887 with Father James Rebmann the school's first Father Superior and seven boys enrolled. They were taught by 17 faculty made up of Jesuit priests and Jesuits in training, scholastics. By the end of the year, more students enrolled, and two were expelled, ending the year with a student body of 18 boys, all white. Father Joseph Joset, a Jesuit missionary, attempted to enroll two native American boys but was rebuffed due to the whites-only policy.[5][11]:84[12][13] Father Rebmann told Joset that the school was only open to "Americans," which he did not consider Indians to be.[11]:84 Non-Catholic boys were also rejected, at least in the College's first years.[11]:84

The students who had been expelled might have run afoul of rules against offense like theft, disobedience, or impurity, and were forbidden to have alcohol or tobacco. The boys were supervised at all times, and not allowed off-campus without a chaperone present. They woke at 5:30 am, and worked continuously until the 8:30 pm lights out. Students attended Mass six days a week, and twice on Sundays, and faced often daunting advancement exams. The school was dividend into a Preparatory section for elementary school-age boys, an Academic section with Third, Second, and First divisions, and an upper-division like a liberal arts college, for Poetry, Rhetoric and Philosophy. In the second year, enrollment began the year with 35 boys, 27 of whom still attended at years end. By 1890, 3 of the original 17 faculty remained. The original Father Superior was followed by Fr. Mackin in 1981, who served until 1983 and was replaced by Fr. Leopold Van Gorp.[5][11]:87–90

In 1884, Gonzaga conferred its first Bachelor of Arts degrees, to two students. A four-story building was planned in 1897, and opened in 1899, as the New Gonzaga In 1892, with an enrollment of 50 boys, football, called "college-down", was first played at Gonzaga on Thanksgiving Day. The same year Gonzaga added a new dormitory, and a wood-framed St. Aloysius Church, and the campus had electric power service for the first time.[5]

Abusive priests sent to live on campusEdit

In 2018 the Center for Investigative Reporting published evidence that the Cardinal Bea House, owned by the Jesuit order and located on Gonzaga's campus, was used by the Catholic Church as a retirement home for priests with histories of sexual predation and abuse from across the pacific northwest and Alaska, from the 1970s through 2016.[14][15] Predatory priests were quietly kept there and out of contact with vulnerable populations, while at the same time protecting the priests from any liability for the abuses they had committed.[14] The last abusive priest moved out of the Cardinal Bea House in 2016.[16]

The Spokane Spokesman-Review newspaper questioned Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh's statements that he did not know, before and during his time as president, about the abusive priests kept on campus.[17][18]


Gonzaga's main campus has 105 buildings on 152 acres.[19] The university has two large libraries. Foley Center Library is Gonzaga's main graduate and undergraduate library, opened in 1992.[20] Chastek Law Library primarily serves the Gonzaga University School of Law, erected in 2000. The Rosauer School of Education building was completed in 1994.[20]

Gonzaga hosts many unique pieces of artwork, largely devoted to historical religious figures and prominent Catholics. Among the most notable are statues of St. Ignatius, St. Joseph, St. Aloysius, and alumnus Bing Crosby by Deborah Copenhaver Fellows. The Jundt Art Center and Museum established in 1995 also has a variety of artwork from differing periods.[20] The spires of St. Aloysius Church are a landmark of the Spokane area.[20]

Due to an expanding student body, Gonzaga completed construction of a $60 million building that serves as the new Circulus Omnium Gonzagaorum (COG) "center of campus," the John J. Hemmingson Center which replaced the former COG that students used for over 60 years. The three-story building with almost 4 acres (1.6 ha; 167,000 sq ft) of floor space has an all-glass exterior. It was completed in time for the Fall 2015 semester.[21]

In 2014, the university made plans to build a performing arts center named after benefactor Myrtle Woldson that would have a 750-seat theater.[22][needs update]

In addition to the campus in Spokane, Gonzaga's virtual campus has degree programs.[23][better source needed]

360° panorama on the campus of Gonzaga University

Organization and administrationEdit

College Hall

The 2014–15 operating budget was $246.7 million, with an annual payroll of $75 million.

College/School Founded

College of Arts and Sciences 1912
School of Business Administration 1921
School of Education 1928
School of Engineering & Applied Science 1934
School of Law 1912
School of Leadership Studies 2018
School of Nursing and Human Physiology 2013


Gonzaga's liberal arts tradition lies in its core curriculum, which integrates philosophy, religious studies, mathematics, literature, natural and social sciences, and extensive writing in each major discipline. Gonzaga has studies in 92 fields and 26 graduate programs. It has programs in preparation for professional schools in business, education, engineering, dentistry, divinity/theology, law, medicine, nursing, and veterinary medicine. It sponsors an Army ROTC program which prepares students to become commissioned officers upon graduation. Gonzaga partners with Bishop White Seminary, located next to the campus, to prepare Catholic seminarians for the priesthood.[24] Students may study abroad at Gonzaga's campus in Florence, Italy, or at other programs in Australia, Benin, British West Indies, China, Costa Rica, England, France, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Spain, and Zambia.[25]

The average class size is 23 students, and there are 427 employed faculty; the student/faculty ratio is 11.5:1.[19]


Gonzaga's admission standards are considered "more selective" by U.S. News & World Report.[26]

For the Class of 2021 (enrolling fall 2017), Gonzaga received 7,162 applications, accepted 4,835 (67.5%), and enrolled 1,048.[27] The freshman enrolled for 2017 had an average GPA of 3.76, an average ACT of 27, an average SAT Critical Reading score of 597, an average Math score of 607, and an average composite score of 1204.[2]


University rankings
Forbes[28] 170
Times/WSJ[29] 217
U.S. News & World Report[30] 79
Washington Monthly[31] 211

Gonzaga is ranked 79th in the U.S. News & World Report 2020 rankings of national universities.[32] The School of Engineering and Applied Science is ranked tied for 18th best undergraduate engineering program nationwide at schools where doctorates are not offered.[32] Forbes ranks Gonzaga the 154th best school in the country, 110th in private colleges, and 31st overall in the West.[33] Additionally, Gonzaga is listed among The Princeton Review's rankings of the best 382 colleges and in the Fiske Guide to Colleges, which ranks 321 colleges in the United States, Canada, and England.[34]


Gonzaga University is part of the NCAA Division I West Coast Conference. Their official mascot is the Bulldog and players are nicknamed the Zags. Gonzaga has 16 men's and women's varsity sports, including baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, rowing(‡), soccer, tennis, volleyball, and track & field (indoor & outdoor).

Gonzaga had "Cinderella" run in the NCAA tournament in 1999,[opinion] which saw Gonzaga make it to the "Elite Eight." Since that run, Gonzaga has played in the West Coast Conference as well as in the NCAA tournament, for 19 consecutive years.

Gonzaga's basketball team has 16 WCC regular titles, 6 "Sweet 16's," produced 15 All Americans, a national CBS-Chevrolet Player of the Year and USBWA Oscar Robertson Trophy in Adam Morrison, and 5 NBA first round picks as of 2012.[35] Additionally, in 2013, Canadian center Kelly Olynyk, a national Player of the Year finalist, was selected as a first team All American. In the 2012-13 season, Gonzaga was ranked No. 1 by the AP for the first time in school history. Its highest ranking before reaching the pinnacle of college hoops came in 2004, when the Bulldogs were ranked No. 2. Gonzaga advanced to the Elite 8 of the 2015 NCAA tournament, losing to eventual national champion and #1 ranked Duke.

The Bulldogs advanced to their first Final Four and a place in the final championship game in the 2017 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, losing to North Carolina 65-71.

Basketball games are held in the McCarthey Athletic Center. The university's men's basketball team, which did not make its first appearance in the NCAA tournament until 1995 (more than a decade after NBA Hall of Fame player and Gonzaga alum John Stockton graduated), made the regional finals of the NCAA tournament (the "Elite Eight") in 1999, re-appearing in the tournament every year since (As of 2018). The women's basketball team made it to the "Sweet Sixteen" in 2010.[36]

Three of Gonzaga's most recent notable athletes are basketball players – former center Ronny Turiaf; Robert Sacre 2012 NBA Draft (selected by the Los Angeles Lakers third overall 2006 NBA Draft pick), and Red Star Belgrade Adam Morrison (who was selected by the Charlotte Bobcats). Also, Courtney Vandersloot – 2011 winner of the Nancy Lieberman Award as the leading Division I women's point guard and women's Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award as the top Division I player no taller than 5'8" (1.73 m) – was selected third overall by the Chicago Sky in the 2011 WNBA Draft. Men's head coach Mark Few was the West Coast Conference coach of the year from 2001 to 2006, and again in 2008. Former women's head coach Kelly Graves, a six-time WCC coach of the year, led the Zags to seven consecutive WCC regular-season titles and four WCC tournament titles. The 2010–11 women's team, a No. 11 seed in that year's NCAA Tournament, became the lowest seed ever to advance to a regional final in the history of the women's tournament.

Like many colleges, Gonzaga put its football program on hiatus during World War II; the announcement was made in April 1942.[37][38] After the war the administration decided not to resume it; the program had been in financial difficulty prior to the war.[39][40][41] Gonzaga football produced two Pro Football Hall of Famers: Tony Canadeo (1941) of the Green Bay Packers, and Ray Flaherty (1926), head coach of the Washington Redskins. In addition, Flaherty recruited former Bulldog football stars Ed Justice, George "Automatic" Karamatic, and Max Krause to play in the Redskin backfield.

Intramural and club sportsEdit

Gonzaga University has intramural and club sports for each season, open to all students, and over 72% of the student population participates at various levels from competitive to recreational. In the fall Gonzaga has soccer, flag football, volleyball, dodgeball, 3-on-3 basketball, badminton, and various tournaments. In the winter there are soccer, ultimate frisbee, volleyball, pickleball, bench press competition, and handball tournaments. In the spring there are softball, triathlon, and home run derbies.[42][43]

Gonzaga also has an Army ROTC Ranger Challenge team, which has won 15 championships in the last 16 years. It has repeated as winner of the Douglas MacArthur Award, given annually to the best Army ROTC program in the Western United States.[44][45]

Student lifeEdit

Gonzaga Student Body Association is in charge of the clubs and activities on campus.[46] Elections for its offices (e.g., President, Vice President, Senator) take place annually during the spring.[47][48]

The university requires all freshman- and sophomore-year students to reside on campus.

More than 20 faiths are represented on campus.[19]

Student publicationsEdit

The Gonzaga Bulletin is the official, weekly student newspaper of Gonzaga University. The newspaper is staffed largely by students of the journalism and broadcasting department of the university's communication arts department; it is managed by a faculty adviser and an advisory board, which reports to the university president. During the 1990s, the paper was recognized for its independence and excellence by the Society of Professional Journalists, winning Best Paper in the Inland Northwest Award twice. The Gonzaga Bulletin is produced on the 4th floor of Gonzaga's College Hall and printed off-site in Spokane.

Spires is Gonzaga's official yearbook. It details the academic year through pictures and articles, and is distributed at the beginning of each year free to all students. To ensure being included in the yearbook, students have their pictures taken during opening weekend or Fall Family weekend.[49]

Gonzaga Law Review is the School of Law's flagstaff legal publication (founded in 1966). It publishes three issues annually.[50]

Gonzaga Journal of International Law is the School of Law's second legal journal (founded in 1997) and is published entirely online allowing for a variety of publishing dates.[51]


The alumni of Gonzaga University include former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Tom Foley, former Governor of the State of Washington Christine Gregoire, Academy Award-winning singer and actor Bing Crosby, NBA Hall of Fame basketball player John Stockton, and world-class mountain climber Jim Wickwire as well as scholars, athletes, business people, and prominent members of the legal community.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2018. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2017 to FY 2018" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute. 2018. Retrieved 2019-06-29.
  2. ^ a b c d "Gonzaga Facts and Figures". Gonzaga University.
  3. ^ "Color Palette". Gonzaga University. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  4. ^ "Gonzaga University", Encyclopædia Britannica, December 14, 2017, retrieved March 16, 2018
  5. ^
  6. ^ The Great Twenty-Eight, Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities
  7. ^ "History of Gonzaga University". Gonzaga University. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
  8. ^ "Undergraduate Majors and Programs - Gonzaga University". Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  9. ^ "Graduate & Online Programs A-Z - Gonzaga University". Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  10. ^ a b c d e Schoenberg, Wilfred P. (1963), Gonzaga University: Seventy-five Years, 1887-1962, Gonzaga University
  11. ^ Cutler, Donald L.; Arnold, Laurie (2016), "Hang Them All": George Wright and the Plateau Indian War, 1858, University of Oklahoma Press, p. 189, ISBN 9780806156262
  12. ^ "Gonzaga History 1887-1895", Enduring Mission: Gonzaga's First 120 Years, Gonzaga University, 2007, archived from the original on April 9, 2012
  13. ^ a b Schwing, Emily; Sankin, Aaron; Corey, Michael. "These priests abused in Native villages for years. They retired on Gonzaga's campus". Center for Investigative Reporting. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  14. ^ Schwing, Emily; Sankin, Aaron; Corey, Michael (December 18, 2018), "Jesuits sent abusive priests to retire on Gonzaga's campus", The Spokesman-Review
  15. ^ Davis-Leonard, Ian. "Gonzaga responds to reassignment of Jesuits to the Bea House". Gonzaga Bulletin. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  16. ^ Vestal, Shawn (April 28, 2019), "The question still follows GU President Thayne McCulloh: Did he know? Some are certain that he did", The Spokesman-Review
  17. ^ "Gonzaga students worked at on-campus home of accused priests", Catholic World Report, April 29, 2019
  18. ^ a b c "At a Glance - GU Facts & Figures". Gonzaga University. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  19. ^ a b c d Gonzaga University: Graduate Programs. "Gonzaga University: Graduate Programs". Archived from the original on 2014-10-19.
  20. ^ "John J. Hemmingson Center - Construction Updates - Gonzaga University". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  21. ^ "Woldson gift to fund GU arts center". May 6, 2014.
  22. ^ "Online Masters - Nursing, Sport, Leadership | Gonzaga Online". Retrieved 2017-09-26.
  23. ^ Skylstad, William S. (2004-01-15). "The Bishop 333Writes". The Catholic Diocese of Spokane. Archived from the original on October 6, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
  24. ^ "Study Abroad". Gonzaga University. Archived from the original on 2009-02-27. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
  25. ^ "Gonzaga University". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  26. ^ "Gonzaga University Common Data Set 2014-2015, Part C" (PDF). Gonzaga University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-10-27. Retrieved 2015-11-05.
  27. ^ "America's Top Colleges 2019". Forbes. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  28. ^ "U.S. College Rankings 2019". Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  29. ^ "Best Colleges 2020: National University Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  30. ^ "2019 National University Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  31. ^ a b "U.S. News Best Colleges Rankings - Gonzaga University". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
  32. ^ "Gonzaga University", Forbes
  33. ^ "National Rankings - Gonzaga University". Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  34. ^ [1] Archived May 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ "Gonzaga Falls to Xavier; Ends Historic Season". Gonzaga. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
  36. ^ "Gonzaga cancels its intercollegiate football program". Spokane Daily Chronicle. April 7, 1942. p. 11.
  37. ^ "Unofficial word says Hunton will be dismissed at Gonzaga". Spokane Daily Chronicle. April 8, 1942. p. 17.
  38. ^ "Gonzaga might drop football". Ellensburg Daily Record. Washington. Associated Press. October 23, 1939. p. 6.
  39. ^ Ashlock, Herb (October 23, 1939). "Financial problem may force Gonzaga University to drop collegiate football program". Spokane Daily Chronicle. p. 11.
  40. ^ "Gonzaga looks for supporters". Spokesman-Review. October 24, 1939. p. 14.
  41. ^ "Intramurals". Gonzaga University. Retrieved 2010-09-07.
  42. ^ "Schedules". Gonzaga University. Retrieved 2010-09-07.
  43. ^ "Bulldogs Making Headlines". Gonzaga University. Archived from the original on 2009-02-11. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
  44. ^ "Ranger Challenge". Gonzaga University. Archived from the original on 2009-02-11. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
  45. ^ "GSBA". Gonzaga University. Archived from the original on 2008-09-05. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
  46. ^ "Gonzaga Activities Board". Gonzaga University. Archived from the original on 2010-10-26. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
  47. ^ "Gonzaga Student Activities Board". Gonzaga University. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
  48. ^ "Spires". Gonzaga Website. Archived from the original on 2010-08-14. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
  49. ^ "Gonzaga Law Review | Gonzaga University". Retrieved 2019-08-26.
  50. ^ "Gonzaga Journal of International Law | Gonzaga University". Retrieved 2019-08-26.

External linksEdit