University of Puget Sound Turns 125

On March 17 it will be exactly 125 years since the day University of Puget Sound was born. 

To mark the anniversary, the liberal arts university has been having a series of events through the school year. More information about the events to come on the university website.

Over the last century and a quarter, Puget Sound and the city of Tacoma have been deeply intertwined. Faculty and staff at the university joined with Tacoma citizens to create entities including the Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, Museum of Glass, Double Shot Theater Festival, and South Sound Sustainability Expo, to name a few.

"There has been many milestones along the way-our move to this campus site in 1924, our first Rhodes Scholar in 1977, the establishment of a Phi Beta Kappa chapter  in 1985, recognition as a national liberal arts college in the 90's," says Ronald Thomas, president of the university. "One of my favorite milestones occured in 2005 when the university was named the number one small university producing Peace Corps graduates and a top ten producer of Fulbright Scholars-that demonstrates the academic and global commitments of our graduates."

Just last year, Puget Sound was designated one of only 40 "Colleges that Change Lives" in the nation, thats a "big" one says Thomas. 

Partnerships with businesses, charities, institutions, families, and schools have enhanced the opportunities for Tacoma’s young people, supported entrepreneurs, assisted people in need, sustained the environment, and created entities of positive change, such as Puget Sound’s Civic Scholarship Initiative, Race and Pedagogy Initiative, and Sound Policy Institute.

"This university historically is a place that embraces change," says Thomas. The university name has changed three times, relocated the campus as the university has grown, refocused its mission statement, and established a pattern in curricular innovation. 

"I expect this tradition of innovation and change will contine at Puget Sound," says Thomas. 

The people of Tacoma have likewise supported Puget Sound: cheering on the Logger athletic teams, attending concerts and lectures, studying in the community music program, receiving free care at the college’s occupational and physical therapy clinics, tuning in to radio station KUPS, and hiring student interns and graduates, many of whom choose to make Tacoma their home.