University of Puget Sound celebrates 125 years

// ‘Once a Logger, always a Logger!’

  • A LOOK BACK. Students working in Howarth Hall science lab circa 1965 (Photo courtesy University of Puget Sound)

  • Handsome student quartet entertains at a varsity show (Photo courtesy University of Puget Sound)

  • Jones Hall and Sutton Quad, 1924, named after Albert v. Sutton the original architect of the university who developed the campus layout principles and designed Jones Hall. (Photo courtesy University of Puget Sound)

  • Men’s basketball team from 1909 (Photo courtesy University of Puget Sound)

  • Synchronized swimming team of 1950 (Photo courtesy University of Puget Sound)

  • In keeping with the times, female students populated the typing classes, 1911 (Photo courtesy University of Puget Sound)

  • Student musicians play at homecoming, 1949. (Photo courtesy University of Puget Sound)

  • MEMORIES. Cover of a 1953 edition of The Trail, the university’s weekly student-run newspaper still publishing today (Photo courtesy University of Puget Sound)

  • Pretty Winter Carnival Snow Queen candidates, 1949 (Photo courtesy University of Puget Sound)

  • President Edward H. Todd (1913-1942) handles the plow as work starts on Jones Hall, 1923. (Photo courtesy University of Puget Sound)

One of Tacoma’s oldest institutions turns 125 this year. Since 1888, and starting with just 88 students, the University of Puget Sound has grown to become the city’s premier center of higher education and one of the Pacific Northwest's top liberal arts colleges. 2013 will be a year of celebration for the university and the public is invited to a series of events lasting from now until the end of spring. These events commemorate the school’s tenure and recognize the significance of its presence in Tacoma.

Why has Puget Sound been so successful? The key to its endurance is “a sense of purpose and determination,” said President Ronald R. Thomas. “Our founders believed there was nothing more important to the future of individuals and our society than a great education, and they were determined to provide one of the highest quality for the citizens in the newest part of the country at the time.”

Thomas declared that the aspirations of the founders were fulfilled immediately. “What has been our unwavering hallmark from the beginning is a commitment to excellent teaching above all things…. That commitment to teaching is the thread that weaves through our history, and will always remain central to who we are.”

Puget Sound’s reputation as a competent, relevant school has been aided considerably by “a commitment to innovation and originality,” Thomas said. In recent years the university has introduced new science and global studies programs. It also anticipates the completion of a “new living and learning center focused around entrepreneurship, the humanities, international study and the environment,” according to Thomas.

The university is an undisputable asset to Tacoma. It has had a role in the development of a number of museums and cultural institutions, and it partners with the city and public schools in a variety of other projects. “The city’s and the university’s shared commitment to excellence and to the future is the key to our long success together,” said Thomas.

As Puget Sound celebrates its long life, Thomas hopes Tacoma will join it in wishing the best to its students and welcoming another happy 125 years.

Information, history, directions, maps, photos, and tickets can be found at Also .check the website on March 17, the university’s official birthday, for a montage of celebratory videos from campus members, alumni, parents, guests, musical artists and more.

Henry DeMarais is a junior at Tacoma School of the Arts. He is fascinated by literature, politics, and culture and hopes to write and speak professionally about the three.

The following is a list of celebratory events open to the public:

The Drive for 125

Support the Logger teams’ push for 125 victories in the 2012-2013 season! Games are held throughout the spring. Women’s and men’s basketball teams face Whitworth for special 125th anniversary matches on Friday, Jan. 25 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. More information is available at

125 Years in the Stacks – book exhibit and blog

Visit Collins Memorial Library or for a literary history of the past 125 years. The exhibit runs from Jan. 25 to March 14.

125 Years in the Stacks – lecture

Three events comprise this lecture series. The first, on Jan. 28, is performer Karen Hass’ characterization of Abby Williams Hill, a landscape painter and activist. An exhibition about Hill can be found in Jones Hall galleries from Jan. 22 to March 1. The second lecture is a chronicle of Franke Tobey Jones’ life and impact on Tacoma by local historian and author Darlyne Reiter. It will take place on Feb. 4. The third event, on March 11, is an illustrated overview of the university’s history by George Mills ’68, M.S.'72 and John Finney ’67. Each event begins at 4 p.m. with refreshments in Trimble Forum, Trimble Hall.

Wole Soyinka

The Nigerian Nobel Laureate’s lecture, titled “Writing for Freedom,” will start at 8 p.m. on Feb. 7, in Schneebeck Concert Hall. Tickets are $20. President Thomas cited this lecture as one of his favorite upcoming events. For more information visit:

Bill Cosby

The famed comedian presents a stand-up comedy show starting at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 10, in Memorial Fieldhouse. Tickets are $25 and $50. For details and tickets visit:

Gabriella Lettini

The professor of theological ethics at Starr King School for the Ministry will give a talk on March 5 at 7:30 p.m. titled “Moral Injury as a Wound of War and the Need for Soul Repair.” The event is free, but tickets must be reserved in advance. More information is available from Wheelock Information Center at (253) 879-6013.


Emerald Queen Casino TLink Vulcan Knife Lifetime Massage Therapy Tacoma First Baptist Clear Choice Cannabis

Letter to the Editor

If you would like to contact us directly, please submit a Letter to the Editor here.