Founded in 1888 with only 88 students under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the University of Puget Sound was intended to be a strict Christian institution of higher learning in the Pacific Northwest. The first academy class to graduate, in 1891, included both men and women.
In its first thirteen years, the school moved three times before finally settling back in Tacoma in 1899 and, in 1903, formally taking the name of the University of Puget Sound. From 1914 to 1960, UPS changed locations again before settling down on its current campus, the school experimented with calling itself the College of Puget Sound. Eventually however it reverted to the original name and stuck with it.
In 1980, the school separated from the Methodist church and became secular. Soon after, it sold off its law school, and it has been focusing on raising money and revitalizing its campus.
The green, 97-acre campus in Northern Tacoma is currently undergoing an extensive renovation under the Master Plan of President Thomas. He aims to retain the visual unity of the school's Tudor Gothic buildings and the organizational structure of quads (primarily North, South, and Karlen) while expanding housing options and academic buildings.
At the center of campus and campus life is what's called the "SUB" (Student Union Building, or the Wheelock Student Center), with its cafeteria, two student-run eateries, lecture halls, and the school's radio station.
The school sits just outside Tacoma, Washington, a small but vibrant city, located 35 miles from Seattle and Mount Rainier and 28 miles from Olympia. It's also within driving distance of Vancouver, British Columbia.
Students have an easy walk from the cozy, upscale, residential enclave of North Tacoma to downtown Tacoma proper, which is a welcoming and low key college town (the University of Washington also has a campus there). There's a shoreline, as well as bars, theaters, museums, a light rail, and restaurants. Naturally, since this is the Pacific Northwest, the weather is mild and wet, but residents cope by drinking excellent coffee.
Stealing, hiding, and returning the Hatchet.
Foolish Pleasures: a yearly student film festival.
The Logjam: a party and recruiting event to mark the end of the first week of fall classes.
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Gretchen Fraser '41, Olympic gold medalist
Jeff Smith '67, TV chef
Adam West, actor (attended)
The UPS Loggers compete in 21 varsity sports in the Northwest conference of the NCAA Division III. These include Men's Baseball, Men's and Women's Basketball, Men's and Women's Crew (competes in the Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference), Men's and Women's Cross Country, Men's Football, Men's and Women's Golf, Women's Lacrosse, Men's and Women's Soccer, Women's Softball, Men's and Women's Swimming, Men's and Women's Tennis, Men's and Women's Track & Field, and Women's Volleyball. Crew, basketball, swimming, and volleyball are standouts, but Loggers tend to put up a strong showing throughout.
Intramural sports such as soccer, lacrosse, and hockey, are also popular, as are independent outdoor activities like hiking and camping.
In 2007, UPS graduated the nation's highest per capita number of Peace Corps volunteers. It has also has an impressive and sometimes record-setting pattern of producing Fulbright Scholars and Watson fellows.
UPS is one of the few nationally-ranked independent undergraduate institutions west of the Mississippi, and the only one in western Washington state.
UPS once had a law school but it was sold to Seattle University.
The Hatchet is a century-old relic and symbol of the Loggers that has disappeared and reappeared over the years. It recently resurfaced and is under surveillance.
Theme housing is very popular at UPS: twenty different options make up Theme Row on South Campus, the most popular being Music and the athletics-focused Outhaus and Track and Cross-Country. There are sixty different non-themed houses open to upperclassmen.
The eight more conventional residence halls for freshmen are separated into a North Campus quad and a South Campus quad cluster. Each houses around 100 students.