Western Washington University (WWU or Western) is a public university in Bellingham, Washington. The northernmost university in the contiguous United States, WWU was founded in 1893 as the state-funded New Whatcom Normal School, succeeding a private school of teaching for women founded in 1886. In 1977, the university adopted its present name.
Northwest Normal School (1886–1893)
|Established||February 24, 1893|
|Endowment||$77.3 million (2019)|
|664 full time(2019)|
|Campus||Urban, 215 acres (87 ha)|
|Colors||Western blue, bay blue and white|
|NCAA Division II|
Great Northwest Athletic Conference
|Mascot||Victor E. Viking|
WWU offers a variety of bachelor's and master's degrees. In 2019, there were 16,142 students, 15,240 of whom were undergraduate students, and 664 full time faculty. Its athletic teams are known as the Vikings, which compete in division II of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
The main campus is located on 215 acres in Bellingham, Washington. Branch campuses are located in Anacortes and Lakewood, Washington. The university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Additional accreditation is held by individual colleges.
Western was established as the Northwest Normal School, a teachers' school predominantly for women although men also enrolled, by Phoebe Judson in Lynden, Washington, in 1886. Eventually the school moved to Bellingham (then "New Whatcom"), and through the efforts of William R. Moultray and George Judson (Phoebe's son). Governor John McGraw signed legislation establishing the New Whatcom Normal School on February 24, 1893. In November 1895, construction began on a permanent school building, now known as Old Main, the current administration building. Designed by prominent Seattle architects Warren Skillings & James Corner, it was completed by early 1897 but could not be opened to students until funds could be secured to install heating, lighting, and to do general grounds maintenance, which were not included in the original contract. The first official class entered in 1899, composed of 88 students.
The institution that is now Western Washington University underwent several name changes. In 1901, the school's name was changed to State Normal School at Whatcom to reflect New Whatcom's name change. In 1904, the name was changed to Washington State Normal School at Bellingham when the townships of Whatcom and Fairhaven joined, and again in 1937, to Western Washington College of Education when it became a four-year college. Twenty-four years later it became Western Washington State College and finally, in 1977, the institution gained university status and changed to its present name.
The 1960s was a period of especially rapid growth for Western, as its enrollment increased from 3,000 students to over 10,000 during the decade. Also during this time, the Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies was founded (1967), with non-traditional education methods that would serve as a model for The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Two years later, the College of the Environment, the nation's first dedicated environmental science college, was founded, continuing Western's trend toward "cluster" colleges. That same year, on a spring afternoon, students gained headlines by blocking Interstate 5 to protest the Vietnam War. Also in 1969, the College of Ethnic Studies was established; however, after being met with significant resistance, it was dismantled in 1975.
Since this period, the College of Arts and Sciences was founded (1973) and divided into the College of Humanities & Social Sciences and the College of Science & Engineering (2003); the College of Fine and Performing Arts was formed from several art departments (1975); and the College of Business and Economics was established (1976).
WWU is located in Bellingham, a city of about 90,000 people, overlooking Bellingham Bay and many of the San Juan Islands. The university is 90 miles (140 km) north of Seattle, 55 miles (89 km) south of Vancouver, British Columbia, and an hour's drive from 10,778-foot (3,285 m) Mount Baker. The university is located close to Interstate 5.
The campus is 215 acres (87 ha), including the 38-acre (15 ha) Sehome Arboretum, operated jointly with the city of Bellingham. Campus facilities include an electronic music studio, an air pollution lab, a motor vehicle research lab, a marine research lab, a wind tunnel, an electron microscope, and a neutron generator lab. Western's Vehicle Research Institute has led Automobile Magazine to describe Western as "very possibly the best school in the country for total car design." Western also has off-campus facilities at Shannon Point Marine Center in Anacortes, Washington; Lakewood, a 15-acre (6.1 ha) student-university facility at nearby Lake Whatcom; and Whatcom County property used for environmental and aquatic analyses.
Public sculpture collection edit
WWU's prized collection of outdoor and indoor public art sculptures is a major presence on its campus. The collection, funded by the Washington State Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, and private donations, includes 36 works: Founded in 1960, the collection includes large-scale works by James FitzGerald, Isamu Noguchi, Robert Morris, Mark di Suvero, Anthony Caro, Nancy Holt, Beverly Pepper, Richard Serra, Donald Judd and Bruce Nauman, among others.
Academic organization edit
Western offers bachelor's degrees and the degrees of Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Education, Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Business Administration, Master of Professional Accounting, Master of Music and Doctor of Audiology. The university is composed of the following colleges and their respective programs:
The university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities; National Association of Schools of Music; National Recreation and Parks Association; American Speech and Hearing Association; National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education; Computing Sciences Accreditation Board; Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology; American Chemical Society; Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Planning Accreditation Board
The undergraduate honors program offers merit scholarships worth up to $5,000. These scholarships are awarded to successful applicants to the honors program. No separate application is necessary. High-achieving freshmen from colleges in other western states can enroll at Western at a reduced tuition level that is equivalent to a $30,000 four-year scholarship.
In 2022-23, US News ranked Western Washington University as the top public master's granting university in the Pacific Northwest, while placing 14th overall in the West (both public and private). Western was one of only two public schools ranked among the top 25 Master's-Granting Universities (West) category. The universities found in this ranking are schools that lack doctoral programs but still retain master's programs. It has a 72% acceptance rate.
Notable degree programs edit
- The Philosophical Gourmet Report mentions Western as having one of the nation's best philosophy departments among colleges and universities that offer only a B.A. in the discipline. Western was among only seven public universities so honored.
- The Center for Canadian American Studies at Western Washington University is one of only two U.S. Department of Education designated National Resource Centers for the study of Canada in the United States.
Research institutes and laboratories edit
College of Business and Economics edit
- Center for Economics and Business Research
- Center for Economic & Financial Education
- Center for Excellence in Management Education
- Center for International Business
- Small Business Development Center
- Center for Operations Research and Management Sciences
- Small Business Development Center
- Manufacturing Supply Chain Management
College of Humanities and Social Sciences edit
- Border Policy Research Institute
- Center for Cross-Cultural Research
- Center for Pacific Northwest Studies
- Center for Performance Excellence
- Critical Junctures Institute
- Demographics Research Laboratory
- Institute for Literary Sciences
- Karen W. Morse Institute of Leadership
College of Science and Engineering edit
- Advanced Material Science and Engineering Center
- Internet Studies Center
- Vehicle Research Institute
College of the Environment edit
- Institute for Watershed Studies
- The Spatial Institute
- Institute of Environmental Toxicology
- The Resilience Institute
- Center for Instructional Innovation and Assessment
- Shannon Point Marine Center
- BRAIN Behavioral Neuroscience program
- Institute for Energy Studies
- Center for Continuing Education and Rehabilitation (with University of Washington)
- Center for Education Data and Research (with University of Washington)
WWU is an official member of NCAA Division II, having joined in September 1998. In 2011–12, approximately 350 students are participating in 15 varsity sports at Western, six for men and nine for women. In 2010–11, WWU placed seventh among 310 NCAA Division II schools in the Sports Director's Cup national all-sports standings, the second-highest finish in school history. The Vikings were sixth in 2009–2010 and tenth in 2008–2009. WWU has had eight straight Top 50 finishes and been among the Top 100 in each of its first 13 seasons as an NCAA II member.
In 2010–11, Western won its third straight and seventh overall Great Northwest Athletic Conference All-Sports championship, taking league titles in volleyball, men's golf and women's golf, and the regular-season crown in women's basketball. The Vikings, who won the Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference championship, placed second in men's and women's cross country, men's and women's outdoor track, men's indoor track and softball.
The Vikings have won an NAIA national championship in softball (1998) and NCAA Division II national championships in women's rowing (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2017), men's basketball (2012) and women's soccer (2016). WWU athletes have also won individual national championships in track and field.
Varsity sports edit
The Vikings field varsity teams for men and women in cross country, soccer, golf, basketball, and track & field. Women's teams compete in volleyball, softball, and rowing. Between 1903 and 2008 WWU fielded a football team but folded it in hopes of saving money to keep other WWU teams competitive.
Club sports edit
- Rowing (Men's)
- Figure Skating
- Lacrosse (Men's and Women's)
- Rugby (Men's and Women's)
- Ultimate (Men's and Women's)
- Volleyball (Men's and Women's)
- Water Polo (Men's and Women's)
- Water Skiing
A total of 16,121 students were in attendance at Western Washington University in the 2018–19 academic year. 92 percent of students are under 25 years of age, and 84 percent are from Washington State.
Many students at Western Washington University participate in organized student government. The Associated Students of Western Washington University (ASWWU) is "an organization designed and run by Western students, the Associated Students (AS) seeks to ensure a fulfilling college and academic experience for all university students through the many services, facilities and programs it offers." Within ASWWU, there are five main areas of focus: clubs, activities, programs, facilities & services, and governance.
The AS aims to provide "funding, space and services" to students "uniting around common interests." The AS staff assist student development of clubs and provide advising, "continuity, referral and record keeping" throughout the entire process. Currently there are over two hundred student clubs in the following categories: Arts and Music, Cultural, Political, Special Interest, Gaming, Social Issues, Departmental, Limited Membership, Service, Religious, and Recreational.
In the 2021–22 school year, the music department has a new course for music education majors called K-12 Classroom Accompanying Pedagogy (MUS 262.) A new course in Music and Sustainability (MUS 397E) is available to all Western students.
The History Department offers HIST 390 which is a special topics class with in-depth readings of primary and secondary sources. In Spring of 2023, a HIST 390 on Indigenous History of North America was offered. The class covers the formation of the Iroquois confederacy, Mississipian chiefdoms, the Illinois people, Caddo people, and more.
Students who desire to set up a table in Red Square to promote their club need to sign up for a space through the university. A blue board at the West side of Red Square has general university policy on freedom of speech and also guidelines for using chalk on the bricks.
There is a livestream of Red Square filmed from the top of Bond Hall.
KUGS radio station accepts albums from students to air. KUGS also has a large library of vinyl records that can be listened to in the studio.
There are multiple news outlets associated with the university.
Student publications edit
Student-run publications at WWU include:
- The Front (formerly The Western Front) is Western’s official student newspaper covering city-wide and greater county-wide news. It operates independently of the university itself, though articles are written, edited, and published by students of the university. The Front was awarded as the "Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper" by the Society of Professional Journalists' Region 10 in 2017. The newspaper's first edition as the Western Front was published on October 10, 1967.
- Klipsun Magazine is a quarterly student magazine. Each issue of the magazine has a specific theme, and the periodical as a whole is intended to be an example of multimedia journalism.
- Occam's Razor, as well as Jeopardy, are formatted as academic journals, and aim to publish academic research done by Western undergraduates.
- The Planet is published as part of the university's environmental studies program. The magazine promotes environmental awareness.
- Window: The Magazine of Western Washington University (often referred to as Window Magazine), a magazine published two to three times a year by the university. It won multiple silver and bronze Council for Advancement and Support of Education Circle of Excellence awards in 2019.
The Student Publications Office of the university publishes the Front, Klipsun, Occam's Razor, and the Planet, as well as Jeopardy.
Official publications edit
An official source of news is WWU News (formerly Western Today), a source for official campus news operated by the Office of University Communications.
The Western Washington University Police Department (abbreviated WWUPD) are a university police force at the university. The police chief of the department is Katryne "Katy" Potts, who was sworn into the position in January 2023. The department also has a staff of "Green Coats" under their public safety branch, who offer "safety escorts on campus, event security staffing and building access services for current students."
Notable faculty edit
- James Bertolino, English
- Jeff Carroll, Psychology
- Catherine T. Montgomery, Education
- Suzanne Paola, English
- Richard Purtill, Philosophy (emeritus)
- Ada Swineford, Geologist
- Edward Vajda, Modern & Classical Languages
- Christopher Wise, English
Notable alumni edit
- Robert Angel, creator of Pictionary
- Richard Barlow, intelligence analyst
- Carrie Brownstein, member of the band Sleater-Kinney, star and co-creator of comedy television series Portlandia.
- Ryan Couture (2004), professional Mixed Martial Artist formerly competing in the UFC, and son of former UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture
- Sarah Crouch, long-distance runner
- Mike Duncan (2002), podcaster and author best known for The History of Rome and Revolutions
- Darril Fosty (1992), author and documentarian
- Ben Gibbard (1998), lead vocalist and guitarist of Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service
- Agnes Martin, minimalist artist
- TJ Martin, Oscar winner of Best Feature Documentary for Undefeated, 2012
- Douglas Massey (1974), sociologist working as a professor at Princeton University and an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania
- Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight (2012), creators of electronic dance duo ODESZA
- Heather Purser, Seattle LGBT rights activist and Native American advocate
- Hiro Yamamoto, founding member and bassist of the rock band Soundgarden
- Ijeoma Oluo, author and writer
- William Dietrich, author and journalist
- Julie Larson-Green, former CXO of Office Experience Organization at Microsoft
- Agnes Martin, abstract painter known for her minimalist style
- Ralph Munro, former Secretary of State of Washington
- Elizabeth Peratrovich, civil rights activist who worked for equality on behalf of Alaska Natives
- Jesse Moore, White House Associate Director of Public Engagement and Speechwriter to President Barack Obama
- Bob Robertson, voice of Washington State University Cougar Athletics for over 50 years
- Heidi Grant Murphy, a Canadian-American operatic soprano
- Erin Wall, a Canadian-American operatic soprano
- John Michael Greer, author and druid
- Michael Farris, CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBTQ hate group as designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center
- Kelli Linville, former Mayor of Bellingham and Member of the Washington House of Representatives
- Ben Dragavon, former American soccer player who is currently an assistant coach for Seattle Reign FC
- Larry Springer, Member of the Washington House of Representatives
- Matt Overton, long snapper for the Los Angeles Chargers of the National Football League
- Daulton Hommes, former professional basketball player for the New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association
- Tori Black, adult film actress
See also edit
- "WWU Brand Guide". Western Washington University Brand Guide. Retrieved May 18, 2023.
- As of June 30, 2019. "U.S. and Canadian 2019 NTSE Participating Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2019 Endowment Market Value, and Percentage Change in Market Value from FY18 to FY19 (Revised)". National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. Retrieved September 26, 2020.
- "Brad Johnson Named WWU's New Provost and Executive Vice President". WWU News. Western Washington University. April 26, 2022. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
- "Diversity, Equity & Inclusion". Western Washington University. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
- Western Washington University Style Guide (PDF). Retrieved April 17, 2016.
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- Judson, Phoebe Goodell (1984) . A Pioneer's Search for an Ideal Home: A Book of Personal Memoirs. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. p. 289. ISBN 0-8032-2563-6.
- "Whatcom Normal School". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. January 3, 1897. p. 12. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
- Bryan, Maurice (January 1, 1993). "The College of Ethnic Studies at Western Washington University: A Case Study". WWU Graduate School Collection.
- Tice, Carol (October 27, 2007). "Notable in the Northwest". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on October 3, 2018. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
- About the WWU Outdoor Sculpture Collection.
The WWU campus map has a list of sculptures.
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