Western Washington University was opened on September 6, 1899, in Bellingham, Washington. It is a student-centered university, providing quality undergraduate education with a core focus on the liberal arts, and programs to meet the educational and professional needs of the community. It also offers selected graduate programs and the master's degree.
The institution became the State Normal School at Whatcom in 1901. Its name was later changed in 1904 as Washington State Normal School at Bellingham. The school began to offer a bachelor of arts degree in education by 1933. The name of the institution was changed again to Western Washington College of Education, in 1937.
Two years prior to the institution's 50th anniversary, the state legislature authorized it to grant the master's degree in education and an undergraduate program in liberal arts. The school was renamed Western Washington University in 1977.
Various developments occurred in the university in the following years. For instance, in 2003, the College of Arts and Sciences was divided into the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the College of Sciences and Technology.
Today the university comprises six colleges: Business and Economics, Science and Technology, Fine and Performing Arts, Fairhaven College, Huxley College of Environmental Studies, and Woodring College of Education. The university's library was built in 1928.
Western Washington University's campus is graced by an outdoor sculpture garden initiated in the 1960s. It has also gained national recognition for its commitment to student-faculty collaboration in the teaching and learning process.