University History

The Historical Story of NNU

A desire to educate their own children led the founders of Northwest Nazarene University (NNU), under leadership of Eugene Emerson, to organize an elementary school in 1913. In the ensuing two years both high school and college courses were added to the curriculum. Thus began Northwest Nazarene University, a fully-accredited, co-educational, Christian comprehensive University of the arts, humanities, sciences, and professions.

In 1915, the first student graduated from high school, and a year later Dr. H. Orton Wiley was elected President. The first degrees were conferred upon a class of four graduates in 1917.

Academic progress has been notable, including accreditation as a junior college in 1931 and as a four-year college in 1937. Master's programs were added in the mid-sixties. The name of the institution was changed from Northwest Nazarene College to Northwest Nazarene University in 1999. NNU changed from quarters to semesters, May, 2000.

The university presently offers undergraduate majors in 29 areas and master's programs in eleven disciplines. In addition to programs on its home campus, NNU students may study in cooperative programs in 10 countries around the world.  Northwest Nazarene serves approximately 1,900 undergraduate and graduate students, and more than 10,000 continuing education students each year, as well as 1,900 high school students through the concurrent credit program. The President of the University is Dr. David Alexander, who became President in 2008.