University of Washington Tacoma

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University of Washington Tacoma
UW Tacoma entrance sign.jpg
Motto Lux sit
Motto in English
Let there be light[1]
Type Public
Established 1990
Chancellor Mark A. Pagano
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 4,629
Undergraduates 3,935
Postgraduates 694
Location Tacoma, Washington, USA
47°14′41″N 122°26′16″W / 47.2448°N 122.4378°W / 47.2448; -122.4378Coordinates: 47°14′41″N 122°26′16″W / 47.2448°N 122.4378°W / 47.2448; -122.4378
Campus Urban
Mascot Hendrix the Husky

The University of Washington Tacoma (UW Tacoma) is a four-year undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate branch campus of the University of Washington. It is located in downtown Tacoma, Washington. Students can choose majors in business, education, nursing, computer science, information technology, criminal justice, social work, environmental science, urban studies and interdisciplinary arts and sciences. Classes are offered day and evening, for full- or part-time students. The institution is governed by the University of Washington Board of Regents, operating out of the University of Washington's main campus in Seattle.

UW Tacoma is one of two branch campuses of the University of Washington. While the main campus is located in the University District of Seattle, the other branch campus is located in Bothell, WA. UW Tacoma opened in leased space in 1990, and opened its permanent campus in 1997.


Following the establishment of The Evergreen State College in Olympia in 1967, interest in additional higher education opportunities in the South Sound continued to grow. In 1986, the Higher Education Coordination Board suggested branch campuses for both the University of Washington and Washington State University.[1] Tacoma and Bothell were chosen as new UW campus sites, and three locations were selected for new WSU campuses: Vancouver, the Tri-Cities and Spokane. The initial goal of the new campuses was to provide further education for the growing numbers of community college transfer students, as well as "time bound, place bound" students with limited access to educational opportunities in programs with "demonstrated regional needs."[2]

The University of Washington Tacoma campus began classes on October 1, 1990 in downtown Tacoma's historic Perkins Building.[2] The 8 story structure was chosen in part for its capacity; during UW Tacoma's early years and construction of the permanent campus further south, enrollments comprised a maximum of approximately 401 juniors and seniors. During this time, downtown Tacoma's appearance and local reputation began to change. The decision to site the new UW campus in downtown Tacoma and not in an outlying area of the city is often cited as one of the most important factors in the downtown's revitalization. The somewhat unorthodox choice to renovate some of Tacoma's oldest remaining industrial structures for campus classrooms and offices, instead of razing the buildings and erecting new ones, has since been heralded for its foresight. A former cluster of blighted, decaying buildings was given new life, and soon after businesses began opening en masse in the immediate area for the first time in decades.

The current campus celebrated its long-awaited opening on May 29, 1997. Since the opening of the first building, several others have been renovated. The campus library formerly served as the Snoqualmie Falls Power Company's transformer house. Building names such as Mattress Factory and West Coast Grocery (the latter within the Academic Building) recall the structures' earlier uses. Transportation within the downtown area was improved with the addition of Sound Transit's 1.6-mile Tacoma Link light rail line in 2003.

Following several years of transfer-only undergraduate admissions, UW Tacoma admitted its first freshman class of approximately 150 students in Autumn of 2006. UW Tacoma expects to continue to increase enrollment and add additional buildings. In March 2011, the campus opened the renovated Russell T. Joy Building, the last of the formerly blighted warehouse buildings along the campus' Pacific Avenue boundary. [3]

Tacoma School of the Arts Students also use UWT classroom space for their humanities classes. In return, the college uses their artistic resources for evening classes.

180° panorama on the University of Washington Tacoma campus.


  1. ^ Buhain, Venice (May 25, 1999). "But what does it mean?". The Daily. 
  2. ^ Grimley, Brynn (August 22, 2015). "25 things to know as University of Washington Tacoma turns 25". The News Tribune. Retrieved August 24, 2015. 

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