“As a conference, we commit ourselves at once and heartily to the policy and proposition of building up within the bounds of the conference, an institution of learning which shall by its ample facilities and able administration command the respect and patronage of the Methodist people of the territory…and that by preaching upon the general subject of education to parents and young people we will endeavor to stir up the educational feeling of our various churches, and so, by united and prayerful efforts advance to the establishment of a school of learning which shall be a praise in all the land.” – Puget Sound Annual Conference, Aug. 25, 1884

University of Puget Sound was founded by Methodist clergy and became incorporated in Tacoma in 1888 by what is now The United Methodist Church. Today the college is governed by a wholly independent board of trustees, and maintains its status as a church-related and affiliated institution in accordance with the criteria established by the Church’s University Senate. These criteria reference our shared history, values, and educational principles, including:

  • Access to education. We believe that every person has the right to a high quality education.
  • Academic freedom. Academic freedom must be ensured for all members of the campus community in order to foster a learning environment that allows for a free exchange of ideas.
  • Social justice. We are deeply committed to social justice, outreach to underserved communities, and the inherent dignity of all persons.
  • Environmental stewardship. We place a high priority on supporting a more ecologically equitable and sustainable world, leading to a higher quality of life for all.
  • Interfaith dialogue. We offer opportunities for effective dialogue, including interreligious engagement that allows people to think about the world and their lives in the broader human community.
  • Global focus. We share a commitment to producing leaders prepared to respond to the challenges of our time and invest in creating a better future.

The church's University Senate, founded in 1892 to address concerns about educational quality, was the first accrediting agency in the United States and established the voluntary, non-governmental peer review model for evaluating educational quality, still used throughout the country today. While the Senate long ago relinquished the accreditation function to independent regional accrediting bodies, it conducts a review of United Methodist-related institutions approximately every 10 years. University of Puget Sound’s affiliation was most recently reviewed and affirmed by the University Senate of The United Methodist Church in 2018-19, following completion of accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.