Western Washington University
MottoActive Minds Changing Lives[1][2][3]
EstablishedFebruary 24, 1893
EndowmentUS$26.8 million[4]
PresidentBruce Shepard[5]
ProvostBrent Carbajal[6]
Academic staff784 (Oct. 2013)
Admin. staff1,098 (Oct. 2012)
Students14,950 (2012) [7][8]
Undergraduates13,902 (2012)[8]
Postgraduates931 (2012)[8]
LocationBellingham, Washington, US
48°44′02″N 122°29′10″W / 48.734, -122.486</td></tr>
Former names*Northwest Normal School
  • New Whatcom Normal School
  • State Normal School at Whatcom
  • Washington State Normal School at Bellingham
  • Western Washington College of Education
  • Western Washington State College</td></tr>
ColorsLight Blue, Silver and White
AthleticsNCAA Division II
Great Northwest Athletic Conference</td></tr>
Sports15 Varsity Teams</td></tr>
MascotVictor E. Viking[2]</td></tr>
WebsiteScript error</td></tr>

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Western Washington University (WWU or Western) is one of six state-funded, four-year universities of higher education in the U.S. state of Washington. It is located in Bellingham and offers bachelor's and master's degrees. Their mascot is the Viking.



Western was established as the Northwest Normal School, a teachers' school for women, by Phoebe Judson in Lynden, Washington, in 1886.[1] Eventually the school moved to Bellingham (then "New Whatcom"), and through the efforts of William R. Moultray and George Judson (Phoebe's son),[2] Governor John McGraw signed legislation establishing the New Whatcom Normal School on February 24, 1893. The first official class entered in 1899, composed of 88 students.

The institution that is now Western Washington University has since undergone several name changes. In 1901, the school's name was changed to State Normal School at Whatcom to reflect New Whatcom's name change. Again, 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 4-year college. Twenty-four years later it became Western Washington State College and finally, in 1977, the institution gained university status.

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 Huxley 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.

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 Sciences & Technology (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). During the 1999–2000 school year, Western celebrated its Centennial.

Today, WWU has a major presence in Bellingham's economy, and contributes significantly to the political, social, and artistic aspects of the city. With a student body that currently consists of over 14,000 students, the university is the third largest in Washington after Washington State University at about 26,000 students and the University of Washington at about 43,000 students both undergraduate and graduate.


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WWU's scenic location in Bellingham, a rapidly growing city of about 80,000 people, overlooks Bellingham Bay and many of Puget Sound’s 172 San Juan Islands. The university is Script error north of Seattle, Script error south of Vancouver, British Columbia, and an hour’s drive from Script error Mount Baker. The university is located close to Interstate 5.

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The campus is Script error, including the Script error 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.[1] 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 Script error student-university facility at nearby Lake Whatcom; and Whatcom County property used for environmental and aquatic analyses.


Academic organizationEdit

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, and Master of Music. The university is composed of the following colleges:

File:Parks Hall.JPG
File:Chemistry Building.JPG


The university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities; National Association of Schools of Music;[1] National Recreation and Parks Association; American Speech and Hearing Association; National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education;[2] Computing Sciences Accreditation Board; Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology;[3] American Chemical Society;[4] Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business;[5] and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.[6]


  • 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.[7]
  • 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.[8]


In 2013, US News ranked Western Washington University as the top public master's granting university in the Pacific Northwest,[9] while placing 21st overall in the West (both public and private).[10] 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.[11]

Western Washington University ranked first among the top medium-sized colleges and universities with alumni serving as Peace Corps volunteers in 2013 and 2014.[12]

Notable degree programsEdit

  • The Philosophical Gourmet Report mentions Western as having one of the nation's best philosophy departments among colleges and universities that only offer a B.A. in the discipline. Western was among only seven public universities so honored.[15]
  • BS in Industrial Technology, Vehicle Design at the Vehicle Research Institute. Western Washington University’s Vehicle Research Institute (VRI) strives to offer the best total car design curriculum in the world. The program focuses on complete vehicle design and fabrication with special emphasis on: power plants, including alternative fuels; transmissions; cats; chassis design; and component materials.[16]
  • 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.[17]
  • Huxley College of the Environment, founded in 1969, was the first College dedicated to the study of environmental science and policy in the nation.

Research institutes and laboratoriesEdit

College of Business and EconomicsEdit

  • Center for Economics and Business Research[18]
  • Center for Economic & Financial Education[19]
  • Center for Excellence in Management Education[20]
  • Center for International Business[21]
  • Small Business Development Center[22]
  • Manufacturing Supply Chain Management [22]

College of Humanities and Social SciencesEdit

  • Border Policy Research Institute[23]
  • Center for Cross-Cultural Research[24]
  • Center for Pacific Northwest Studies[25]
  • Center for Performance Excellence[26]
  • Critical Junctures Institute[27]
  • Demographics Research Laboratory
  • Institute for Literary Sciences
  • Karen W. Morse Institute of Leadership[28]

College of Science and TechnologyEdit

  • Advanced Material Science and Engineering Center[29]
  • Internet Studies Center[30]
  • Vehicle Research Institute[16]

Huxley College of the EnvironmentEdit

  • Institute for Watershed Studies[31]
  • Institute for Spatial Information and Analysis[32]
  • Institute of Environmental Toxicology[33]
  • The Resilience Institute[34]


  • Center for Instructional Innovation and Assessment[35]
  • Shannon Point Marine Center[36]
  • BRAIN Behavioral Neuroscience program[37]
  • Institute for Energy Studies[38]

Collaboration with other UniversitiesEdit

  • Center for Continuing Education and Rehabilitation[39] (with University of Washington)
  • Center for Education Data and Research[40] (with University of Washington)


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WWU has been an official member of NCAA Division II since 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 2009–10 and 10th in 2008–09. WWU has had eight straight Top 50 finishes and been among the Top 100 in each of its first 13 seasons as a 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.

Varsity sports Edit

The Viking field varsity teams in the following sports:

  • Cross Country (Men's and Women's)
  • Soccer (Men's and Women's)
  • Volleyball (Women's)
  • Golf (Men's and Women's)
  • Basketball (Men's and Women's)
  • Softball
  • Track & Field (Men's and Women's)
  • Rowing (Women's)

Associated Students of Western Washington University (ASWWU) Edit

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."[1] 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."[1] 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.[1]

Sculpture collectionEdit

File:Sculpture at Western Washington State College, 1970.jpg

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 30 works:

  1. "Rain Forest" (1959), by James FitzGerald
  2. "Totem" (1962), by Norman Warsinske
  3. "Wall Relief" (1962), by Norman Warsinske
  4. "Scepter" (1966), by Steve Tibbetts
  5. "Sky Viewing Sculpture" (1969), by Isamu Noguchi
  6. "Untitled Steam Work for Bellingham" (1971), by Robert Morris
  7. "Alphabeta Cube" (1972), by Fred Bassetti
  8. "The Man Who Used to Hunt Cougars for Bounty" (1972), by Richard Beyer
  9. "Log Ramps" (1974; 1987), by Lloyd Hamrol
  10. "For Handel" (1975), by Mark di Suvero
  11. "India" (1976), by Anthony Caro
  12. "Sasquatch" (1976), by Rod Pullar
  13. "Flank II" (1978), by Mia Westerlund Roosen
  14. "Garapata" (1978), by John Keppelman
  15. "Mindseye" (1978), by Mark di Suvero
  16. "Stone Enclosure: Rock Rings" (1978), by Nancy Holt
  17. "Curve / Diagonal" (1979), by Robert Maki
  18. "Normanno Column" (1980), by Beverly Pepper
  19. "Normanno Wedge" (1980), by Beverly Pepper
  20. "Wright's Triangle" (1980), by Richard Serra
  21. "Untitled Box" (1982), by Donald Judd
  22. "Bayview Station" (1987), by George Trakas
  23. "The Islands of the Rose Apple Tree Surrounded by the Oceans of the World for You, Oh My Darling" (1987), by Alice Aycock
  24. "Two-part Chairs, Right Angle Version (A Pair)" (1987), by Scott Burton
  25. "Untitled" (1989), by Ulrich Rückriem
  26. "Untitled" (1990), by Meg Webster
  27. "Manus" (1994), by Magdalena Abakanowicz
  28. "Feats of Strength" (1999), by Tom Otterness
  29. "Stadium Piece" (1999), by Bruce Nauman
  30. "Bigger Big Chair" (2006), by David Ireland
  31. "the islands"

Notable facultyEdit

Honorary doctoratesEdit

Notable alumniEdit



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "About the Associated Students". Western Washington University. Retrieved August 26, 2008.
  3. "Western Washington University Awards Honorary Doctorate to Author and Columnist Timothy Egan". March 6, 2012. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  4. "Holocaust survivor Noemi Ban to receive honorary doctorate at WWU commencement". March 20, 2013. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
  5. Ravulur, Nandita (October 12, 1997). "Game Boys". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
  6. "Western Washington University". Retrieved October 31, 2012.
  7. "Ryan Couture UFC Bio". Retrieved 2014.
  8. "Before they're gone | WINDOW – The magazine for WWU". Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  9. "IMDB".
  10. "Oscar Nominee TJ Martin to Host Screening of 'Undefeated' at WWU March 1". February 14, 2012. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  11. Kam WilliamsSpecial to the AFRO (February 9, 2012). "Oscar-Nominated Director Weighs-In on His Heartwarming Documentary | The Afro-American Newspapers | Your Community. Your History. Your News". Retrieved August 20, 2012.

External linksEdit

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