Westminster College (Utah)

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Westminster College
Westminster College Converse Hall.jpg
Westminster College Converse Hall
Motto "Pro Christo et Libertate"
Motto in English
For Christ and for Liberty
Type Private
Established 1875
Endowment $46.1 million[1]
President Stephen Morgan[2]
Academic staff
Undergraduates 2,168[4]
Postgraduates 719[4]
Location Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
40°43′54″N 111°51′18″W / 40.7318°N 111.8550°W / 40.7318; -111.8550Coordinates: 40°43′54″N 111°51′18″W / 40.7318°N 111.8550°W / 40.7318; -111.8550
Campus Urban
Athletics NCAA Division II
Colors Purple and Copper          
Mascot Griffin
Website westminstercollege.edu

Westminster College is a private liberal arts college located in the Sugar House neighborhood of Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. The college comprises four schools: the School of Arts and Sciences, the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business, the School of Education, and the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. It is the only accredited liberal arts college in the state of Utah.


The school was founded in 1875 as the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute, a prep school under the supervision of the First Presbyterian Church of Salt Lake City.

At that time, members of many Protestant Christian denominations flocked to Salt Lake City in order to try to convert people who belonged to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[citation needed] Westminster is the only remaining vestige of a trend in the late 19th century in which the Protestants set up private primary and secondary schools and offered free tuition to children in order to try to convert them from other religions.[citation needed]

College level classes were first offered in 1897 as Sheldon Jackson College. It was given that name after a Presbyterian minister and its primary benefactor, Sheldon Jackson. High school level classes ceased to be offered in 1945, and the school become strictly a college. Westminster was the first accredited two-year junior college in Utah. It became a liberal arts institution in 1949.

The college changed its name to "Westminster College" in 1902 to better reflect a more general Protestant education. The name is derived from the Westminster Confession of Faith, a Presbyterian confession of faith, which, in turn, was named for the district of London where it was devised. The University of Westminster, London is a separate higher education institution in the United Kingdom and is not affiliated with Westminster College.

Today, students from all religious persuasions (or none) are welcome as Westminster severed its official ties to the Presbyterian church in 1974, although it is still loosely affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college is also no longer antagonistic toward The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. About 37 percent of its students are LDS. The school also proposed abandoning its traditional crest emblem, a shield emblazoned with the term "Pro Christo et Libertate." After students actively protested the administrative effort, however, the school crest was preserved, though in 2007, it was finally abandoned as the new crest with Converse Hall took its place.


Originally located in downtown Salt Lake City, the college moved to its present campus on 27 acres (10.93 ha; 0.04 sq mi) in the Sugar House neighborhood of the city in 1911 where it is still located today.[5] Westminster's Campus is known for its natural beauty and elegant architecture.[citation needed] Emigration Creek runs through the campus.

On campus are two gyms each equipped with a basketball court, weight room, and studio.

The larger of the buildings, the Eccles Health Wellness and Athletics Center (HWAC), also has an indoor pool, three story rock climbing wall, and racket ball court.

As Westminster College is located on little acreage in the heart of Salt Lake City, administration has had to be careful and smart about the growing student population. The sixteenth president of Westminster College, Dr. Michael S. Bassis, saw a need for growing into and connecting with the Sugar House community. During his presidency he acquired Garfield School to the east, with plans on converting it into a center for the arts. However, it was sold to the Elizabeth Academy, a private Montessori school in February 2017.

Dr. Bassis also struck a deal to have Westminster on the Draw built on 1300 East, directly across the street from Sugar House Park. This space has many uses. At seven floors, the bottom level is used as academic and event space. The second floor (street level) is used as business space. While the remaining floors are used as housing for upper-classmen and graduate students.

Organization and administration[edit]

Westminster College has had eighteen presidents since its founding; the current president, Stephen R. Morgan, was appointed in June 2015.[6] It had an endowment of $46.1 million as of June 30, 2009.[1]

Academic profile[edit]

Westminster College comprises four schools: the School of Arts and Sciences, the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business, the School of Education, and the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. The college operates on a fall and spring semester system with a mini term in May and eight- and twelve-week summer terms.

Westminster offers 34 undergraduate majors conferring BA and BS degrees, which do not include its pre-med, pre-law, and pre-dental programs. In addition to a number of post-baccalaureate certificate programs in various fields, Westminster also offers 13 graduate degrees: Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Business Administration in Technology Management (MBATM), Master of Arts in Community Leadership (MACL), Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), Master of Education (MEd), Master of Public Health (MPH), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Master of Science in Nursing Education (MSNEd), Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia (MSNA), Master of Professional Communication (MPC), Master of Strategic Communication (MSC), and Master of Science in Professional Counseling (MSPC).[3]

Westminster College recently launched a new program within the Gore School of Business focusing on training students to be entrepreneurs. The Center for New Enterprise will offer graduate and undergraduate degrees as well as community education programs in entrepreneurship.

Westminster College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Programs throughout the college are accredited as well.[3]


Westminster College is the only private, non-denominational, comprehensive liberal arts college in Utah. Admissions statistics advertise a student-faculty ratio of 9:1. Peterson's Guide to Competitive Colleges includes Westminster College in the top 10 percent of 3,600 public and private colleges and universities nationwide. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Westminster in the top tier of Master's universities in the West and as an excellent educational value.[citation needed] Westminster has also been recognized as one of the best colleges in the country by the Princeton Review for more than a decade.[7]

U.S. News & World Report ranked Westminster in its 2015 “Best College” guide in the following lists: “Best Regional Universities” (No. 20); “Best Value Schools” (No. 6); “A+ Schools for B Students (No. 20); and "Best College for Veterans".[8]

Student life[edit]

The school boasts over 70 campus clubs and organizations. The Associated Students of Westminster is the student association on campus. The school newspaper is a bi-weekly called "The Forum". There is also a nationally recognized literary journal known as Ellipsis. The Estonian, Westminster's student yearbook, was last published in 1987.


Westminster College teams, nicknamed athletically as the Griffins, are in transition to join NCAA Division II and are competing members of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC). Men's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, skiing, soccer and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, skiing, soccer, track & field and volleyball. The Griffins men's and women's alpine skiing teams compete in the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association (RMISA). Current non-NCAA sports include cheer, cycling, dance and snowboard.

Prior to 1979, Westminster College athletic teams were called the Parsons, and the school was a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC), which was part of the NAIA at the time. The school joined that said conference in the 1967–68 academic year. Football, basketball, and other team sports were offered at the intercollegiate level. That year, however, a financial crisis at the school caused it to discontinue its intercollegiate athletic program. Beginning in the 1990s, Westminster gradually began to restore an intercollegiate athletic program, and the school's mascot is now the griffin.

In the 2006–07 academic year, Westminster began fielding a men's lacrosse team following the completion of a new athletic field on campus. The Westminster men's lacrosse team won the 2008 Division II MCLA National Championship held in Irving, Texas at Texas Stadium with a 17–10 win over Grand Valley State.[9] The program won the first national championship in the school's 130-year history, in only its second year. The Men's Basketball program achieved notable success going 216–99 (.684) overall while proving even more dominant in Frontier Conference play with a 105–33 (.761) mark winning six Frontier Conference titles while earning a spot in the NAIA National Tournament eight times. The women's basketball program achieved comparable success with seven Frontier Conference titles, three tournament titles and nine NAIA National Tournament appearances.

On February 11, 2014, Westminster College President Brian Levin-Stankevich announced that the school had applied for NCAA Division II membership. The school had begun a three-year process toward full membership of the NCAA. If its application was accepted, Westminster would re-join its former conference home, the RMAC, effectively the 2015–16 academic year.[10][11]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 14, 2017. Retrieved February 19, 2010. 
  2. ^ Westminster Announces New President and Board of Trustees Members – Westminster College NewsWestminster College News
  3. ^ a b c "Westminster College: Westminster Fact Sheet". Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  4. ^ a b "Westminster College: President's Annual Report 2008" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 21, 2010. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  5. ^ About Us | Westminster College | Salt Lake City, Utah
  6. ^ Trojan, William (June 21, 2015). "Westminster Announces New President and Board of Trustees Members". UtahPulse.com. Retrieved June 22, 2015. 
  7. ^ Christensen, Megan Marsden (August 6, 2015). "Princeton Review ranks Westminster College among top 380 in nation". KSL.com. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  8. ^ Jacobsen, Morgan (September 9, 2015). "Westminster, other Utah colleges appear in national college rankings". Deseret News. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  9. ^ Coyne, Jac (May 17, 2008). "Big Blue Owns Big D". Lacrosse Magazine. Retrieved December 18, 2010. 
  10. ^ Morton, Aaron (February 11, 2014). "Westminster looks to make move to the NCAA Division II ranks". Deseret News.
  11. ^ Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. "Westminster approved to become member of NCAA Division II". August 4, 2015.
  12. ^ "Maddie Bowman". United States Olympic Committee. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  13. ^ Forbes (2012). "30 Under 30 Finance". Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  14. ^ Osterlund, Peter (October 13, 2013). "Forbes 30 under 30: Colleges They Don't Talk About". 60 Second Recap. Recap Media. Archived from the original on April 1, 2016. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  15. ^ Monson, Gordon (April 18, 2012). "Monson: Utah no-name comes out of nowhere to sign with Miami Dolphins". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  16. ^ Hanzus, Dan (April 19, 2012). "Former accountant chases NFL dreams with Dolphins". nfl.com. Retrieved April 23, 2014. 
  17. ^ Kragthorpe, Kurt (February 19, 2014). "Olympics: Utah's Westminster College influential in Sochi". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  18. ^ "David Litvack". Good4Utah.com. Archived from the original on 23 April 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  19. ^ "Michael Stockton Westminster Griffins bio". Retrieved October 5, 2017. 
  20. ^ Jolley, Craig (February 8, 2005). "Meet Ladd McIntosh". All About Jazz.
  21. ^ "Die Preisträger". Meyenburg-Stiftung (in German). Retrieved June 19, 2016. 

External links[edit]