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Westminster College
Westminster College Logo
Established 1875
Type Private
Endowment $46.1 million[1]
President Michael S. Bassis
Faculty 253[2]
Undergraduates 2,168[3]
Postgraduates 719[3]
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 NAIA division 1
Colors Purple and Gold          
Mascot Griffin

Westminster College is a private liberal arts college located in the Sugar House neighborhood of Salt Lake City, Utah. 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.



Converse Hall

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. Westminster is the only remaining vestige of a trend in the late 1800s 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 Mormonism.

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. Westminster severed its ties to the Presbyterian church in 1974.

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 a London suburb where it was devised. Today, students from all religious persuasions (or none) are welcome.

The college is also no longer antagonistic toward The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. About 40 percent of its students are Latter-day Saints, approximately the same percentage as for the general population of Salt Lake City. As a means of marketing the school to LDS students, as well as students of non-Christian faith, the school abandoned the school mascot, the Parson, in favor of the more secular Griffin[citation needed]. 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[citation needed].

Westminster was the first accredited two year junior college in Utah. It became a liberal arts institution in 1949.

Originally located in downtown Salt Lake City, the college moved to its present campus on 27 acres (0.11 km2; 0.04 sq mi) in the Sugar House neighborhood of the city.

The current president of Westminster College is Dr. Michael S. Bassis, who was appointed in 2002.


Westminster College is the only private, non-denominational, comprehensive liberal arts college in Utah and one of the very few in the Intermountain West. A student-faculty ratio of 11:1 fosters a level of personal attention seldom found at other institutions. Peterson's Guide to Competitive Colleges includes Westminster College in the top 10 percent of 3,600 public and private colleges and universities nationwide. Westminster is the only college in Utah to be included in Colleges of Distinction, for excellence in engaging students, teaching, a vibrant campus community, and successful outcomes for students[4]. 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. In the 2009 edition, Westminster was ranked 19th, up four places from the previous year. Additionally, Westminster was recognized as a great value, ranking 13th on the list of "Great Schools, Great Prices" in this category.[5] The Princeton Review included Westminster College in its annual guide of "The 368 Best Colleges" for 2008, and has also ranked the College 18th in the nation for "best quality of life."


Griffin statue at Westminster

Westminster College is a comprehensive college blending liberal arts studies with professional programs. 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. 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 (not including pre-med, pre-law, and pre-dental programs). In addition to a number of post-baccalaureate certificate programs in various fields, Westminster also offers 12 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 Science in Professional Counseling (MSPC), and Master of Arts in Community Leadership (MACL).[2]

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.[2]


Westminster's Campus is known for its natural beauty and elegant architecture. Located on 27 acres (0.11 km2; 0.04 sq mi) in the middle of a long-established community, the campus has been designed to blend in with the neighborhood.

Student activities

The Associated Students of Westminster College or ASWC is the student government and activity board on campus. They provide services such as activities, student advocacy, and over fifty different clubs and organizations.

School publications

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's official athletic logo

Prior to 1979, Westminster's athletic teams were called the "Parsons," and the school was a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. 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 athetic program, and today the school competes in the Frontier Conference of the NAIA's division one athletics. The school mascot is now the Griffin, and Westminster athletic offerings include men's and women's basketball, men's and women's soccer, women's volleyball, men's and women's golf, men's and women's cross country, and summer basketball camps. In the 2006-2007 academic year, Westminster began fielding a men's lacrosse team at the club-intercollegiate level, following the completion of a new athletic field on campus. The Westminster men's lacrosse club won the Division II MCLA National Championship in Dallas Texas at Texas Stadium. The program won the first national championship in the school's 130 year history, in only its second year.

Notable alumni and faculty

  • Bonnie Baxter - Current professor of biology whose ecologic studies of the Great Salt Lake have been profiled on BBC[1] and PBS NOVA [2]
  • Greg Gagne - co-authored Operating System Concepts,[6] one of the most widely-used operating systems textbooks in the world.
  • Nick More - Recipient of the 2008 Carnegie Foundation Utah Professor of the Year.[8][9]
  • Jeffrey Nielsen - Current professor of Philosphy, best known for his dismissal from BYU for criticizing the LDS Church's opposition of gay marriage.
  • Geoff Stradling - Hollywood composer and orchestrator for TV series and movies. Stradling frequently works on movie scores with Ladd McIntosh, a former Westminster professor who led the Westminster Jazz Band to numerous awards in the early 1970s[3].
  • Richard D. Wood - A noted American molecular biologist and winner of the Meyenburg Prize [4]for identification of proteins involved in repairing DNA after ultraviolet irradiation[5]. The 2000 Alumni of the Year, he frequently credits the quality of the education he received at Westminster as a major factor in his later scientific success.


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "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. Retrieved February 19, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "Westminster College: Westminster Fact Sheet". Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  3. ^ a b "Westminster College: President's Annual Report 2008". Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  4. ^ "Colleges of Distinction: Westminister College, SLC". Retrieved 2010-3-5. 
  5. ^ "Westminster College: About Westminster". Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Heather McPhie - Biography". United States Ski and Snowboard Association. Retrieved 17 January 2010. 
  8. ^ "Westminster College: Campus News (November 20, 2008)". Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  9. ^ "Carnegie Foundation U.S. Professors of the Year". Retrieved 2008-12-22. 

External links



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