Centennial. One hundred years. How do you calculate and appreciate all that has occurred across one hundred years? So many presidents, professors, students, staff, churches, pastors, laity. What guided them? What connected them?

The path and purpose of the University have not been charted by those seeking personal gain or worldly glory."

As we look back in history’s hindsight, patterns and priorities begin to emerge:

  • A selfless, Christ-centered faculty and administration are assembled
  • A guiding motto is chosen—Seek ye first the Kingdom of God
  • A growing group of churches and families makes sacrifices for its children
  • A commitment to join heartfelt faith with academic rigor is established
  • A passionate calling to serve a lost world motivates student preparation

The things that describe the history of Northwest Nazarene University are the things that define NNU. The path and purpose of the University have not been charted by those seeking personal gain or worldly glory. Rather, the people we now call our founders, our leaders, our visionaries were guided by God. In the words of the Apostle Paul, they chose to pursue “a more excellent way.” (I Cor. 12:31b)

A More Excellent Way—the Centennial theme of Northwest Nazarene University—a phrase that describes our accomplishments and our aspirations. The words declare that for one hundred years the people of NNU have sought to be the people of God. For one hundred years God’s will and way have been the guiding force in the school’s direction and desire.


In 1920, H. Orton Wiley, our first president, took Matthew 6:33 seriously. He poured over the Bible pictured above seeking God’s will for NNU and penned his vision for this college: "[It] seeks not to conform to the ideals of worldly institutions; it seeks rather in all things the Kingdom of God."

The stories that follow are examples of NNU students and NNU alumni living out the pursuit of A More Excellent Way. Over the next year and a half, we want to trace the hand of God in the life of NNU and tell the stories of your pursuit of a more excellent way. We invite you to submit your stories to nnu.edu/100.


Founders' Day: Marking the Milestone

Five participants in the groundbreaking reenactment photo consider the centennial and the future of NNU.

Crafting Community

After 22 years of service, Chaplain Gene Schandorff is retiring. HIs decades of service have been significant in crafting NNU's campus community and spiritual identity.

Designing for the Pros

When he’s not making history, Cody can be found in the Seahawks and Sounders’ practice facility working on designs for anything from player cards and posters to social media graphics and web ads.

NNU Centennial Year in Review

"The quality of the historical photos, stories and more really made a powerful connection between past and present. What an incredible time to be a part of the NNU family!”