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Western Washington University

Western Washington University 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.


516 High Street

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Victor E. Viking
White Blue Royal Blue
Great Northwest

College History


Western was established as the Northwest Normal School, a teachers' school for women, 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. 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.

College Specialty


Western Washington University serves the people of the State of Washington, the nation, and the world by bringing together individuals of diverse backgrounds and perspectives in an inclusive, student-centered university that develops the potential of learners and the well-being of communities.



Robert Angel, creator of Pictionary Richard Barlow (1980), Intelligence Officer Theodore C. Bestor (1973), Professor of Anthropology and Japanese Studies and Chair of the Department of Anthropology, Harvard University Carrie Brownstein, guitarist and vocalist for Sleater-Kinney. Co-producer/Co-star of TV show Portlandia (TV series) Billy Burke, actor in Twilight films Art Chantry (1978), graphic designer Dave Christensen (1985), head football coach for the University of Wyoming Ryan Couture (2004), Mixed Martial Artist, and son of former UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture William Dietrich (1973), author, journalist and 1990 Pulitzer Prize winner for National Reporting Eric Dinerstein (1975), chief scientist for the World Wildlife Fund Darril Fosty (1992), award winning author and documentarian Coloured Hockey League Benjamin Gibbard (1998), lead singer, Death Cab for Cutie Jim Goldberg (1975), photographer Nick Harmer (1998), bass, Death Cab for Cutie Forrest "Woody" Jensen, Major League Baseball player Michael Koenen (2004), punter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Clarence "Cuddles" Marshall, Major League Baseball player TJ Martin, Oscar winner of Best Feature Documentary for Undefeated, 2012 Douglas Massey (1974), sociologist, Princeton University Brett Mitchell (2001), music director of Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra Greg Otterholt (1989), broadcaster, musician Michael E. Phelps (1965), American Professor and Biophysicist Roger Repoz, Major League Baseball player Alec Stone Sweet (1982), professor, Yale Law School, guitarist and recording artist Randy Tate (1988), U.S. Representative from Washington Joyce Taylor (1984), Morning Anchor, KING-TV, Seattle Chris Vance (1984), State Representative, King County Council member, Republican State Party Chairman Erin Wall, operatic soprano Chris Walla (1997), guitar, Death Cab for Cutie Duff Wilson (1976), writer and first two-time winner of the Harvard University Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting Bill Wright, first African-American to ever win a PGA tour event Hiro Yamamoto, former bassist of Soundgarden Dr. "Iron" Mike Webster, CFL player, Grey Cup champion, professional wrestler, clinical psychologist



Urban 215 acres (87 ha)