Brief History of Western Washington University
Early Years, 1893-1941
- 1893- The state legislature passes a bill establishing a State Normal School in the town of New Whatcom, Whatcom County and considers various building sites.
- 1895- State legislature provides $40,000 to construct a three-story, 36-room building (Old Main).
- 1899- Legislature appropriates $33,500 for the equipment and maintenance of the school for two years. Institution opens September 6 with Edward T. Mathes as Principal.
- 1901- Institution becomes the State Normal School at Whatcom, as the city changes its name.
- 1904- Whatcom and Fairhaven vote to incorporate as Bellingham; institution name changes to Washington State Normal School at Bellingham.
- 1914- George W. Nash appointed to replace Mathes, adopts the title "President."
- 1922- Dwight B. Waldo appointed President
- 1923- Charles H. Fisher appointed President.
- 1928- College library built.
- 1933- Institution authorized to grant Bachelor of Arts in Education.
- 1937- Names changes to Western Washington College of Education. Four-year education now officially the standard for students.
- 1939- President Fisher terminated by Board of Trustees and Gov. Clarence D. Martin following a campaign condemning him as anti-American and un-Christian, setting off a storm in educational circles. Western Professor William W. Haggard appointed President.
- 1941- Attendance drops nearly 50 percent as the United States enters World War II.
Middle Years, 1942-1967
- 1946- Enrollment doubles. Male freshmen outnumber females at Western for the first time as many returning soldiers take advantage of the G. I. Bill.
- 1947- State Legislature authorizes institution to grant both an M.A. in Education and a B.A. in Liberal Arts.
- 1949- Western turns 50.
- 1959- James L. Jarrett appointed President.
- 1960-61- Installation of first item in Western's acclaimed Outdoor Sculpture Collection. Institution renamed Western Washington State College. Enrollment exceeds 3,000.
- 1965- Harvey C. Bunke appointed President.
Recent Years, 1968-present
- 1968- Western Professor Charles J. Flora appointed President following tenure as Acting President. Fairhaven College founded.
- 1970- Enrollment exceeds 10,000 for the first time. Huxley College of Environmental College founded, continuing Western's trend toward "cluster" colleges. Students protesting the Vietnam War block highway Interstate 5 on a spring afternoon.
- 1973- College of Arts and Sciences established, produces 60 percent of today's graduates.
- 1975- Paul J. Olscamp appointed President. College of Fine and Performing Arts combines art, music and theatre departments.
- 1976- College of Business and Economics established.
- 1977- Institution renamed Western Washington University.
- 1983- G. Robert Ross appointed President..
- 1988- Kenneth P. Mortimer appointed President following death of Ross in plane crash that also kills administrators Don Cole and Jeanne DeLille.
- 1989- College of Education named in honor of Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus Paul Woodring.
- 1993- Karen W. Morse appointed President..
- 1999- Western celebrates its Centennial.
- 2003- College of Arts and Sciences divided to form the College of Humanities & Social Sciences and the College of Sciences & Technology.