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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 Washingtonmarker. It is located in Bellinghammarker and offers bachelor's and master's degrees.

Western Washington University’s MBA program has been ranked in the top 100 programs worldwide by the Aspen Institute.WWU’s program finished 72nd out of approximately 600 business schools invited to participate in the survey, which goes beyond mainstream academic content and ranks the programs on the institution’s efforts to integrate social, ethical and environmental concerns as well. York University in Great Britain finished atop the list; WWU finished ahead of such well-known programs as Vanderbilt University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Oregon State University and Washington State University.

In 2007, US News ranked Western Washington University number two in the public, master's universities (west) category, while placing 18th overall in the west (both public and private). Only two public schools are ranked among the top 25 master’s universities (west) category, "a region stretching from Texas to the Pacific." The universities found in this ranking are schools that lack doctoral programs but still retain master's programs.

  • Classes and labs average 10 to 19 students. Only two percent of courses are taught by graduate teaching assistants. Undergraduates have the opportunity to take graduate level courses.

  • Undergraduate research in the sciences and humanities is encouraged. Funds are available for undergraduate research in any field.

  • 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."

Firms that most frequently hire graduates of Western include: Microsoft, Boeing, Washingtonmarker school systems, Bank of America, KPMG LLP, Moss Adams, Starbucks, T-Mobile, Safeco, Maxim, Macy'smarker, Weyerhauser, Wells Fargo, and various government agencies. Western Washington University ranks sixth among the top medium-sized colleges and universities with alumni serving as Peace Corps volunteers in 2008.

Campus setting

Fisher Fountain
WWU's scenic location in Bellingham, a rapidly-growing city of about 74,000 people, overlooks Bellingham Baymarker and many of Puget Soundmarker’s 172 San Juan Islandsmarker. It was originally built on a peat bog, and due to this and the area's geography, the university has had to address problems from its buildings slowly sinking into the ground. The university is north of Seattlemarker, south of Vancouvermarker, British Columbiamarker, and an hour’s drive from 10,778 foot (3285 m) Mount Bakermarker. The university is located close to Interstate 5.

Wilson Library
campus is 215 acres (870,000 m²), including the 38 acre (154,000 m²) Sehome Arboretum, operated jointly with the city of Bellingham. Western also has off-campus facilities at Shannon Point Marine Center in Anacortes, Washingtonmarker; Lakewood, a 15 acre (61,000 m²) student-university facility at nearby Lake Whatcommarker; and Whatcom County property used for environmental and aquatic analyses.

Western's on-campus wireless network can simultaneously accommodate 4,800 users (approx).


Academic organization

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

Parks Hall, Home of the College of Business and Economics.
Chemistry Building


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; Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology; Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business; and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs.


  • 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.

  • 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.

Notable degree programs

  • 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 eight public universities so honored.

  • Huxley College of the Environment at Western is introducing a bachelor's program in emergency planning and management. It is the first bachelor's degree of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. "Students in the program will be looking at environmental mitigation, safety factors, coastal issues, geomorphology, watershed planning and flood plain and erosion issues, as well as issues related to terrorism."

Research institutes and laboratories

Border Policy Research Institute

Center for Continuing Education and Rehabilitation

Center for Cross-Cultural Research

Center for International Business

Center for Pacific Northwest Studies

Center for Performance Excellence

Center for Service Learning

Demographics Research Laboratory

Institute for Literary Sciences

Institute for Watershed Studies

Internet Studies Center

Shannon Point Marine Center

Vehicle Research Institute

Recent student accomplishments

2009:The Model United Nations program, Western Model United Nations (WMUN), won outstanding delegation at the 2009 National Model United Nations conference, held April 5-9, 2009 in New York City for their representation of Ecuador.

2008:The Model United Nations program, Western Model United Nations (WMUN), won an Honorable Mention at the 2008 National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference which was held April 22-26, 2008 in New York City for their representation of Romania. In addition, WMUN members also received accolades at multiple regional conferences, including Northwest Model United Nations (NWMUN), University of British Columbia Model United Nations (UBCMUN), and Oregon State Model United Nations (OSUMUN) for their excellence as delegates.

2007:The Human-Powered Submarine Team competed in the International Submarine Race (ISR) in Bethesda, MD held June 25-29, 2007. With a top speed of , the team placed 6th overall, out of 27 submarines, and 3rd in the two-person propeller-driven submarine category. Western's Sub Team also won the honorable mention awards for "Best Use of Composites" and "Best Overall Performance". The students improved their submarine (Drekar) from the previous year.

2006:The Submarine Team won best presentation at the 2006 Human Powered Submarine Contest in Escondido, Calif. "Driving the only two-person propeller driven submarine, the team had the fourth fastest time of all submarines in the contest. The team also placed second in overall engineering." The students designed and built the sub.


Merit scholarships

Oswald Hall II and Henny Lund Scholarship:

$27,200. "Selection criteria include outstanding academic achievement and financial need. Recipients are identified through admission application materials; no separate application is necessary.”

Washington Scholar Award:

Currently valued at over $20,000. "High school principals nominate the top 1 percent of their school’s graduating senior class on the basis of academic achievement, leadership and community service."

Washington Achievers Scholarship:

Scholarships are expected to average $20,000. Students from Cleveland, Clover Park, Davis, Foster, Henry Foss, Kent-Meridian, Kittitas, Lincoln, Mabton, Mariner, Mount Tahoma, Stevenson, Tonasket, Truman, West Valley, and Yelm High Schools are eligible.

Western National Merit Scholarships:

“National Merit finalists are guaranteed a minimum of $10,000 scholarship assistance....[they] need only submit a copy of their award form to the Admissions Office...”

Lorraine M. Mortimer Scholarship:

“Recognizes an entering freshman from Washington who demonstrates outstanding academic achievement, financial need, a history of community-oriented activities, and potential for leadership at Western Washington University. The award covers tuition and fees for four years. Recipients are identified through admission application materials; no separate application is necessary.”

Western Alumni Association Scholarships:

Freshman applicants are considered for the Alumni/President’s Scholarship, a $10,000 award. Also: “The WWU Alumni Association offers scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $3,000, including some that are renewable for multiple years. Recipients must demonstrate strong academic achievement, a diverse background in school and community activities, and financial need. Selection priority is given to children and grandchildren of Western Washington University alumni."

James Michael Haskell Memorial Scholarships:

A total of $10,000. "Recipients are identified through admission application materials; no separate application is necessary.”

Western Washington University Presidential Scholarships:

Ranges from $500 to $5,000. "Selection for the scholarship is comprehensive, taking into consideration the cumulative grade point average, SAT or ACT, curricular rigor – including advanced coursework and courses beyond core requirements, and achievements exhibited in the personal statement. Recipients are identified through admission application materials; no separate application is necessary.”

Admission with Highest Honors:

“Students ranking in the top one percent of our incoming freshmen class, based on cumulative GPA and test scores, are Admitted with Highest Honors, assured admission into Western’s Honors Program and offered a 2-year $2,000 merit scholarship. Recipients are identified through admission application materials; no separate application is necessary.”

Seattle and Bellingham Business Forum Scholarships:

“...approximately fifty $1,500 scholarships for new freshmen and transfers who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement. Recipients are eligible to study in any field of interest. Recipients are identified through admission application materials; no separate application is necessary.”

All-Washington Academic Team Scholarships:

“Each community college in Washington State is invited to nominate two students to the All-Washington Academic Team, based on academic achievement and community service. Western offers a $1500 Seattle Business Forum scholarship and a $500 President’s Scholarship to any member of the All-Washington Academic Team who enrolls at Western.”

Academic department scholarships

Distinguished Scholars Programs – Business and Economics, Environmental Science, Journalism, Science, Mathematics and Technology:

“Students demonstrating outstanding academic achievement in high school and desire to major in one of the listed areas are invited to participate in enriched first-year activities to make connections with faculty and academic opportunities in their area of interest. Recipients are identified through admission application materials; no separate application is necessary.”

Mathematics Memorial Scholarship:

“Several scholarships of up to $1,000 are awarded to entering freshmen. Applicants must possess a strong record of academic achievement in mathematics courses and exhibit an interest in math-related activities throughout their four years of high school.”

Forensics (Debate) Alumni Scholarship:

“One or more scholarships equal to in-state tuition for one quarter is awarded to an entering freshman with demonstrated success in high school forensics who plans to participate in Western's forensics program.”

Grabert Transfer Scholarship – Anthropology:

“One or two $600 scholarships are awarded to new incoming transfer students entering Fall Qtr and majoringin Anthropology."

Scholtz Memorial Scholarship – Art:

“One or more scholarships are available for entering freshman that show talent and potential as artists. Admitted Freshmen to Western Washington University who pass the Department of Art portfolio review are automatically considered for this scholarship.”

Diversity scholarships

Nahbi Ram Joshi Scholarship:

“Scholarship applicants must either have been born in India or have a parent or grandparent born in India and must demonstrate strong leadership qualities as well as high academic merit.”

Oscar Olson Research Scholarships:

Six new undergraduates who are interested in majoring in biology, chemistry, computer science, geology, or physics/astronomy are selected annually to receive a $1,500 merit scholarship and a $500 research stipend. Recipients must have lived in a single parent household, with priority consideration for this privately fundedscholarship given to underrepresented minority students.”

Multicultural Achievement Program Scholarships:

“Tuition waiver and/or on-campus housing and dining scholarships ranging from $500 to $2,000 are awarded to 200 freshman and transfer applicants whose applications for admission demonstrate an ongoing commitment to multiculturalism and/or diversity. Some awards extend over two years. Recipients are identified through admission application materials; an additional essay is required to be considered for this scholarship.”

Garfield High School Scholarship:

“One or more entering freshman from Garfield, Franklin, Cleveland, or Rainier Beach High Schools will receive a $2,000 scholarship. Preference shall be given to an African American student. Recipients are identified through admission application materials; no separate application is necessary.”

Northwest Indian College Scholarship:

“Available to entering transfer students who have completed at least 25 transferable credits at Northwest Indian College, with preference given to students who are NWIC graduates.”

American Indian Endowed Scholarship:

“The American Indian Endowed Scholarship program helps financially needy students with close ties to a Native American community to pursue undergraduate and graduate studies. The program annually awards about 7 new scholarships and 10 renewal scholarships, ranging from about $500 to $2,000.”

Area high school scholarships

Thomas D. Wynn Family Scholarship:

“An incoming freshman from Ferndale High School is awarded an annual scholarship of $6,000, renewable for up to four years – for a total scholarship value of $24,000.”

Thomas Frazier Scholarship:

“Entering Freshman from Ballard, Cleveland, Franklin, Ingraham, Garfield, Nathan Hale, Nova Project, Rainier Beach, Roosevelt, Sealth or West Seattle High Schools....may be eligible for this scholarship, worth $10,000, renewable for a second year. Recipients are identified through admission application materials; no separate application is necessary.”

Garfield High School Scholarship:

“One or more entering freshman from Garfield, Franklin, Cleveland, or Rainier Beach High Schools will receive a $2,000 scholarship....Preference shall be given to an African American student. Recipients are identified through admission application materials; no separate application is necessary.”

August and Carol Radke Scholarship:

"Two students from Sehome High School will be awarded $2500 scholarships. Recipients are identified through admission application materials; no separate application is necessary. Recipients for the 2007-2008 school year were, Courtney Scherting and Daniel Broker-Bulling."


WWU is a NCAA Division II member of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. The university's mascot is a Viking, named Victor E. Viking, identical to the mascot of Portland State University.

The Vikings won the first three GNAC All-Sports Championships and placed 31st among 225 NCAA II schools in U.S. Sports Academy Directors’ Cup standings in 2003-04. In January 2004, the women's basketball team became the 15th NCAA school to win 700 games. A total of 59 Vikings earned league all-star honors and 34 were GNAC academic all-stars in 2003-04. In the 2006 and 2007 seasons, the Vikings are participating in football as a member the North Central Conference, as the GNAC discontinued the sport following the 2005 season. However, with the demise of the NCC on July 1, 2008, the GNAC is re-starting its football program in 2008 and the Vikings will join its five-team football division.

On January 9, 2009 the school announced it would be dropping its football program effective immediately, meaning that the 2008 year was the last year football will be played. The school finished the year at 6-5 and the program will finish with an overall record of 383-380-34 in 98 seasons starting in 1903.

Western varsity squads have won a total of five national championships (Softball-1998, Women's Rowing 2005-2008), and the club Cycling team won a title in 2007. With their women's rowing capturing the national title again in 2008, Western became the first school in NCAA history to 4-peat as national champions.
Wade King Student Recreation Center

In 2007, the Viking volleyball team finished national runner-up in the NCAA tournament. This was the best finish in school history, bettering a third place in the NAIA tournament in 1990.

In 2007, the Men's Cross Country team finished 11th at nationals, well above their pre-nats ranking of 17th. The nationals squad included four redshirt freshman, and only two seniors, giving the Viking XC team a very promising future.

Varsity 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)

Club sports

Lacrosse, baseball, men's crew, cross-country, cycling (road, mountain, track, cyclo-cross), equestrian (English and Western), fencing, ice hockey, judo, rugby, sailing, swimming, tennis, water polo, ultimate frisbee, Northwest grappling


Western hosts the only collegiate fencing organization in western Washington. Its team competes at the club level (there is no varsity fencing in the NCAA Northwest Region or any of the northwestern states). The other Washington colleges with fencing teams are Eastern Washington Universitymarker, Central Washington Universitymarker, Washington State Universitymarker, and Whitman College.


Western was established as the New Whatcom Normal School, a teachers' school for women, by Phoebe Judson in Lynden, Washingtonmarker. 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 Fairhavenmarker 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, Fairhaven College was founded (1967), with non-traditional education methods that would serve as a model for The Evergreen State Collegemarker in Olympia, Washingtonmarker. Two years later, the Huxley College of the Environment 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 12,000 students, the university is the fourth largest in Washington.

Associated Students of Western Washington University (ASWWU)

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 four main areas of focus: clubs, 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, Social Issues, Departmental, Limited Membership, Service, Religious, and Recreational.

The official "Greg Olson Club of DBs" was established in 1987 and has been moving around the state, finally ending up as a semi-permanent club at Western in 2007, where it remains to this day.

Outdoor sculpture collection

"Normanno Wedge" by Beverly Pepper on the WWU campus
WWU's prized collection of outdoor 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 24 works:

  • James Fitzgerald: "Rain Forest", 1959
  • Norman Warsinsky: "Wall Relief", 1962
  • Steve Tibbetts: "Scepter", 1966
  • Isamu Noguchi: "Skyviewing Sculpture", 1969
  • Robert Morris: "Untitled Steam Work for Bellingham", 1971
  • Richard Beyer: "The Man Who Used to Hunt Cougars for Bounty", 1972
  • Fred Bassetti: "Alphabeta Cube", 1972
  • Lloyd Hamrol: "Log Ramps", 1974; 1987
  • Mark di Suvero: "For Handel", 1975
  • Anthony Caro: "India", 1976
  • Nancy Holt: "Rock Rings," 1977-78
  • Robert Maki: "Curve/Diagonal", 1976-79
  • John Keppelman: "Garapata", 1978
  • Mia Westerlund Roosen: "Flank II", 1978
  • Richard Serra: "Wright's Triangle", 1979-80
  • Beverly Pepper: "Normanno Wedge", 1980
  • Donald Judd: "Untitled", 1982
  • Alice Aycock: "The Islands of the Rose Apple Tree Surrounded by the Oceans of the World for You, Oh My Darling", 1987
  • Michael Mccafferty: "Whirl, Wind, Wood", 1987
  • George Trakas: "View Station", 1987
  • Magdalena Abakanowicz: "Manus", 1994
  • Bruce Nauman: "Stadium Piece", 1998-99
  • Tom Otterness: "Feats of Strength", 1999


  • In 1996, The "Population Association of America", the world's premiere professional association for demographers, at its annual meetings in New Orleans, honored Western Washington University by dedicating a special session to this university's contributions to the field of demography.

  • In 2008 March 21 the first American intermural Brazilian Ju-Jitsu match took place between Western Washington University and Wenatchee Valley College

Notable alumni


  1. America's Best Colleges 2007: Universities-Master's (West): Top Publics
  2. America's Best Colleges 2007: Universities-Master's (West): Top Schools
  3. WWU News University Communications
  5. America's Best Colleges 2008: Western Washington University: Mission
  6. Mentoring Undergraduates
  8. Categorical • AS Clubs • Associated Students • Western Washington University
  9. America's Best Colleges 2008: Western Washington University: Services & Facilities
  10. Western Ranks Sixth for Peace Corps Volunteers
  11. Office of Admissions, WWU
  12. Honors Program, WWU
  14. The Philosophical Gourmet Report 2004 - 2006 :: Undergraduate Study
  17. WWU News Release
  18. Higher Education Coordinating Board
  19. Welcome To The College Success Foundation
  21. Office of Admissions, WWU
  23. Lynden Chamber of Commerce: Pioneer History

External links

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