Eastern Washington University

Coordinates: 47°29′29″N 117°34′59″W / 47.49139°N 117.58306°W / 47.49139; -117.58306
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Eastern Washington University
Seal of Eastern Washington University
Former names
Eastern Washington State College (1961–1977)
Eastern Washington College of Education (1937–1961)
State Normal School at Cheney (1889–1937)
Benjamin P. Cheney Academy (1882–1889)[1]
TypePublic university
EstablishedApril 3, 1882; 141 years ago (April 3, 1882)[2]
Endowment$28,961,059 (2022)[3]
Budget$223,343,004 (2022)[4]
PresidentShari McMahan
ProvostJonathan Anderson
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students10,892 (2021)[5]
United States

47°29′29″N 117°34′59″W / 47.49139°N 117.58306°W / 47.49139; -117.58306
CampusRural college town, 300 acres (120 ha)
Colors   Red & white[6]
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division IBig Sky Conference
Washington State Normal School at Cheney
Showalter Hall at Eastern Washington University, a three-storey brick building currently serving as the administrative building.
Showalter Hall at Eastern Washington University, viewed northwest from 5th Street
NRHP reference No.92001287
Added to NRHPOctober 1, 1992
Eastern Washington University is located in Washington (state)
Eastern Washington University
Location in Washington (state)
Eastern Washington University is located in USA West
Eastern Washington University
Eastern Washington University (USA West)

Eastern Washington University (EWU) is a public university in Cheney, Washington. It also offers programs at a campus in EWU Spokane at the Riverpoint Campus and other campus locations throughout the state.

Founded in 1882, the university is academically divided into four colleges: the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences; the College of Health Science & Public Health; the College of Professional Programs; and the College of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics.


The city of Cheney, then known as Depot Springs, was surveyed in 1880 along the tracks of the Northern Pacific Railroad;[7]: 3  expressman Benjamin Pierce Cheney was a member of that railroad's board of directors. Officials renamed the city for Cheney by October 1880,[7]: 6  prompting him to donate $10,000 to establish the Benjamin P. Cheney Academy in 1882 on an 8-acre (3.2 ha) site at present-day Showalter Hall.[7]: 8  At the time, the school was a private institution losing pupils to the competing public school district; after Washington was admitted to the union in 1889, the Enabling Act allowed the establishment of normal schools in the new state and in 1890 the school was renamed the State Normal School at Cheney to train future elementary school teachers.[7]: 22–24  The first class of teachers began their studies on October 13, 1890, under the administration of W. W. Gillette (principal) and William J. Sutton (vice principal).[8]

Pomeroy Building, which served as the temporary home of Cheney Normal School for 1893–96 (photographed in 2015)

The campus was almost totally destroyed twice by fire in 1891 and 1912, but was rebuilt each time. On August 27, 1891, while the original 1882 Cheney Academy building was being expanded, the first fire destroyed the building and unfinished addition,[7]: 9  and classes were moved to the Pomeroy building in downtown Cheney temporarily. Sutton took over as principal in 1892 and spearheaded an appropriation of $60,000 in 1895 from the state for a new building, completed in 1896 at the site of the former Academy building.[7]: 30  Sutton resigned in 1897, and shortly afterward, Governor John R. Rogers vetoed funding for the fledgling school, forcing it to cancel classes for the 1897–98 school year. Locals provided enough funding to operate the school in 1898, and state funding resumed in 1899.[8]

Noah D. Showalter was elected president of the Normal School in 1911, just before the second fire destroyed the 1896 building on April 24, 1912. Like Sutton before him, Showalter urged the state to pass an appropriation of $300,000 to pay for a new building; after Governor Ernest Lister vetoed the appropriation, the veto was overridden by the legislature under the leadership of Sutton, then serving as a State Senator.[8]

Julius Zittel was selected to design the new administration building, which was dedicated on May 22, 1915, and later renamed to Showalter Hall in 1940. The Herculean Pillars, at the intersection of 5th and College, were also completed in 1915, using materials salvaged from the 1896 Normal School building, and served as the entrance to the school for those arriving from the downtown train station.[8]

Cheney Normal School continued to grow, opening its first dormitories in 1916 (Monroe Hall), 1920 (Senior Hall), and 1923 (Sutton Hall); in 1929, it completed the President's House (now University House), to serve as the residence for the school's president. All were designed by Zittel.[8] After Zittel's retirement, Charles I. Carpenter and George M. Rasque were hired to design a replacement for the Training School, where student teachers would practice teaching; the new building, dedicated on April 9, 1937, was named Martin Hall to honor Governor and local resident Clarence Martin.[8] Also that same year, Cheney Normal School was renamed to Eastern Washington College of Education. On June 4, 1940, the new campus library was opened as Hargreaves Hall (designed by Rasque), and the former administration building was formally dedicated to Noah Showalter.[8]

Hargreaves Hall (photographed in 2015)

The school grew quickly in size following World War II and became Eastern Washington State College in 1961. During this era, Eastern added various graduate and undergraduate degree programs. In 1977, the school's name was changed for the final time to Eastern Washington University by the Washington State Legislature.[9]

In 1992, the core of the campus was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Washington State Normal School at Cheney Historic District.[10][11]

Campus locations[edit]

The main campus of Eastern Washington University is located in Cheney. A branch campus, known as the Riverpoint Campus is located nearby in Spokane and is shared with Washington State University.[citation needed]

EWU also offers degree programs located in Bellevue, Everett, Seattle, Longview, and Vancouver (Washington).[12]


EWU offers over 100 fields of study, 10 master's degrees, seven graduate certificates, 55 graduate programs of study and an applied doctoral program of physical therapy.[13] A master's in social work is offered in Everett and Vancouver, and a master's in education is available in Kent. A creative writing Master of Fine Arts, Interdisciplinary Studies, Child & Family Outreach Program, Communication Studies, Social Work Program (part-time Master's), Journalism, Alcohol & Drug Studies, and Counseling Education & Developmental Psychology programs are offered in Spokane.[citation needed]


The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching classifies the university as Inclusive, since the university admitted eighty-two percent of those who applied to be freshmen in 2010. The average incoming freshman had a combined SAT score of 970 and a high-school weighted grade-point average (GPA) of 3.17 in 2010. 86% of freshmen in 2010 were from Washington.[citation needed]

Research institutes & centers[edit]

Eastern Washington University is home to a number of research institutes and centers, including the following:

  • Institute for Public Policy & Economic Analysis—created in 2002 to "provide data and analysis about a variety of factors in the region that will be useful for businesses, communities and others as they plan for the future." Headed by Patrick Jones, Ph.D.
  • Women's & Gender Studies Center—Women's Studies programs at EWU empower women to achieve dignity and justice through education, scholarship, and social change.
  • Eisenhower Center/International Field Study—A program designed for students to travel abroad while earning college credit.
  • English Language Institute—ELI.
  • Center for Farm Health & Safety—Conducts research and demonstration programs involving Health and Safety of Farm-based population groups.
  • Fisheries Research Center— Performs a great variety of salmonid restoration studies including but not limited to: diet studies, population modeling, telemetry, bone regressions, bioenergetic modeling, water quality assessment, ecosystem modeling, surgical implantation of radio, acoustic and ultrasonic tags, and tributary sampling.[citation needed]

Student life[edit]

Selected locations at Eastern Washington University 
  •  NRHP contributing buildings 
  •  Other notable buildings 
  •  Student housing 

Showalter Hall (1915)
Monroe Hall (1915)
Senior Hall (1920)
Sutton Hall (1923)
President's House (1929)
Hargreaves Hall (1940)
Pence Union Building (PUB)
University Recreation Center
Roos Field
John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
Fine Arts Complex
Pearce Hall
Dressler Hall
snyamncut Hall
Streeter Hall
Morrison Hall
Dryden Hall
Louise Anderson Hall
Brewster Hall
Student body composition as of May 2, 2022
Race and ethnicity[14] Total
White 58% 58
Hispanic 19% 19
Other[a] 13% 13
Black 4% 4
Asian 3% 3
Foreign national 3% 3
Native American 1% 1
Pacific Islander 1% 1
Economic diversity
Low-income[b] 43% 43
Affluent[c] 57% 57

Pence Union Building (PUB)[edit]

The Pence Union Building, or PUB, is the community center for Eastern Washington University.[citation needed]

University Recreation Center (URC)[edit]

The University Recreation Center, or URC, is a Three-Level 117,699-square-foot (10,934.6 m2) Recreational Facility that was opened on campus in 2008. The facility has a 19,455-square-foot (1,807.4 m2) multi-purpose arena that can operate as an ice rink and general purpose sports floor, 30-foot (9.1 m) Indoor Climbing Wall with 11 routes (1 simulated Ice Climbing) & 2 bouldering walls, Indoor Parking Garage (40 Metered Spaces), 17,000-square-foot (1,600 m2) fitness Center & gymnasium, campus dining facility known as "The Roost" and a 2-Lane 200 Meter Running Track.[citation needed]

The cost to build the URC was $26.3 million, an amount which was jointly funded by the university and by students through a $65 per quarter activity fee. $28.6 million in revenue bonds were issued by the university in order to build the facility and pay the costs of issuance. The university funds the center's annual operating costs as part of its general operating budget.[citation needed]

Campus housing[edit]

Eastern Washington University has eight residence halls.[citation needed]

Brewster Hall was built in 2002 and houses students 19 years of age and older. Brewster is located on second street in downtown Cheney.

Dressler Hall was built in 1966. It is located behind the Pence Union Building (PUB) and is the closest hall to the Phase and Athletic Center. The majority of residents are freshmen. This hall and Pearce Hall, located adjacent to each other, hold a prominent and unique place in the EWU skyline. Built similarly to one another, though not identical, these twin halls are thirteen-story cylinders that rise prominently over the campus and the Cheney community.[citation needed]

Dryden Hall was built in 1965 and is located one block from the Pence Union Building. This hall caters to residents 21 and over. This hall is not currently operational.[citation needed]

Louise Anderson Hall, also known as LA Hall is centrally located directly across from the Pence Union Building (PUB) along Elm Street. The building was remodeled in 1999.[citation needed]

Morrison Hall was built in 1970 and is located about one block from the center of campus. Morrison Hall is not currently operational, as of the 2020/21 educational year.[citation needed]

Pearce Hall was the first of the twin circular towers to be constructed in 1964,[15] and is the largest residence hall on campus. Pearce Hall is a community which is composed primarily of first-year students.[citation needed]

snyamncut (pronounced sɪn-yæm-ɛn-sut) is EWU's newest residence hall. The name is the Salish word for place of gathering and was adopted to honor the Spokane Tribe.[16]

Streeter Hall opened in 1968;[17] on the north side of campus, it is near three other residence halls and approximately one block from the Pence Union Building.

EWU also has apartments. The two apartment complexes are Anna Maria and the Townhouses Apartments.[18]

The Easterner[edit]

The Easterner is the student newspaper of Eastern Washington University. The Easterner provides the latest campus news, sports and opinions to students, faculty, alumni and the surrounding community. All content in The Easterner is either produced or chosen by students from the university. The Easterner is distributed in print form during the fall, winter and spring quarters on a weekly basis throughout the Cheney campus, Cheney business district, and the Riverpoint Campus. The Easterner maintains a website [19] and Facebook page,[20] both independent from the university. The first student newspaper, "The State Normal School Journal", was published on October 10, 1916. The weekly publication changed its name to "The Easterner" in 1951.[21]

Student organizations and Greek life[edit]

The student body's government, the Associated Students of Eastern Washington University, has been in existence since 1919–1920, and organizes the work of a wide range of student committees. The Office of Student Activities oversees more than 100 student clubs and organizations on campus that cater to a wide variety of interests and activities.[citation needed]

EWU is the only regional university in Washington that has an active Greek system on campus. As of the 2015–2016 school year, there are five IFC Fraternities, four NPC Sororities, five NPHC Chapters and eight NALFO Chapters that are currently active.[citation needed]

The five IFC Fraternities are Beta Theta Pi, Pi Lambda Phi, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Kappa Sigma and Phi Delta Theta. The four NPC Sororities are Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Phi, Alpha Xi Delta, and Gamma Phi Beta. The eight NALFO Organizations are Lambda Theta Alpha, Kappa Delta Chi, Gamma Alpha Omega, Sigma Lambda Gamma, Alpha Pi Sigma, Sigma Lambda Beta, Lambda Theta Phi, and Omega Delta Phi. The five NPHC Organizations are Delta Sigma Theta, Alpha Phi Alpha, Phi Beta Sigma, Zeta Phi Beta, and Iota Phi Theta.[citation needed]


Roos Field

Eastern Washington University offers club, intramural, and varsity sports. Its twelve varsity men's and women's sports teams compete in the Big Sky Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I as the Eastern Washington Eagles. The most-prominent athletics facilities on campus are Roos Field, Reese Court and the Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse. EWU has three national championships, including football (2010 – NCAA Div. I FCS), wrestling (1977 – NAIA) and men's cross country (1982 – NCAA Div. II).[citation needed]

The Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League held the majority of their summer training camps at EWU, from 1976 to 1985 and again from 1997 to 2006, from late July to mid August.[citation needed]

FIRST Robotics Competition events have been held there, including the Pacific Northwest District regional, since 2014.[22] The venue has since been switched to the Veterans Memorial Coliseum (Portland, Oregon).[23]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "A History of Eastern Washington University". ewu.org. Eastern Washington University. Retrieved June 24, 2022.
  2. ^ "EWU – Facts at a Glance". ewu.edu.
  3. ^ As of December 31, 2022. Asset Class PeJanuary 1, 2023 (PDF) (Report). Retrieved July 31, 2023.
  4. ^ "2022 FINANCIAL REPORT" (PDF).
  5. ^ "Student Enrollment & Demographics (Old Factbook)".
  6. ^ EWU Identity Standards (PDF). Retrieved September 1, 2023.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Oliphant, J. Orin (1924). History of the State Normal School at Cheney, Washington. Inland-American Printing Company. Retrieved December 30, 2019. Alternative link, transcribed to HTML
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "National Register Information System – Washington State Normal School at Cheney Historic District (#92001287)". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. November 2, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2019.
  9. ^ Davis, Hugh (June 14, 1977). "Eastern changes few". Spokane Daily Chronicle. p. 19.
  10. ^ Emerson, Stephen (April 1992), National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Washington State Normal School at Cheney Historic District (PDF), retrieved February 5, 2015.
  11. ^ National Park Service (October 9, 1992), Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 9/28/92 through 10/08/92 (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on May 14, 2009, retrieved February 5, 2015
  12. ^ "EWU Off Campus". Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  13. ^ "EWU – Programs by College/School". ewu.edu.
  14. ^ "College Scorecard: Eastern Washington University". United States Department of Education. Retrieved May 8, 2022.
  15. ^ "New tower dormitory for EWSC". Spokesman-Review. October 1, 1961. p. 1, sec. 2.
  16. ^ "snyamncut". Inside.EWU.edu. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  17. ^ "New buildings near completion on EWSC campus". Spokesman-Review. (photos). September 2, 1967. p. 18.
  18. ^ "Apartments Eligibility". access.ewu.edu. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  19. ^ "The Easterner: The independent, student-run news site of Eastern Washington University". Retrieved March 16, 2017.
  20. ^ "@TheEasterner". The Easterner. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
  21. ^ Perry, Rosie (October 6, 2016). "Editor's Note". The Easterner Vol. 100. No. 2. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
  22. ^ "The Blue Alliance". The Blue Alliance. Retrieved March 30, 2023.
  23. ^ "2024 Pacific Northwest FIRST District Championship". The Blue Alliance. April 3, 2024. Retrieved September 22, 2023.


  1. ^ Other consists of Multiracial Americans & those who prefer to not say.
  2. ^ The percentage of students who received an income-based federal Pell grant intended for low-income students.
  3. ^ The percentage of students who are a part of the American middle class at the bare minimum.

External links[edit]