Defining Moments Strategic Plan, 2006-17

Defining Moments: The Strategic Plan for University of Puget Sound was presented to the Board of Trustees by President Ronald R. Thomas at the February 2006 meeting, where it received full approval and endorsement. The plan represents the culmination of more than a year of work by members of the Puget Sound community—administration, faculty, staff, students, alumni, trustees, and community partners—who sought to identify and celebrate the key elements of the Puget Sound experience. The plan is intended to create a vision for the future that guides the next chapter of the university’s remarkable evolution as one of the country’s most distinctive national liberal arts colleges.


The key for us at Puget Sound at this moment in our history is not to invent a new story about ourselves, but to understand where our story has taken us and how it might further unfold. Ours cannot just be an account of institutional transformation; it must also be a story of distinction. This is our challenge: to tell that story and make it true by defining our character and the difference it makes.  This is the thread that will lead us into the next chapter of a great story and will empower us to define the future and Puget Sound’s place in it.

With a distinctive combination of a strong liberal arts curriculum and innovative interdisciplinary programs—complemented by schools of business, music, and education, as well as centers for civic scholarship and health sciences—the University of Puget Sound is an outstanding liberal arts college with the opportunities of a great university. We offer an extraordinary experience in life and learning, an intimate and inviting campus, a commitment to self-expression and innovation, and inventive interdisciplinary study. The Puget Sound experience embraces our dynamic Pacific Northwest environment, our independent and pioneering people who are civically engaged, environmentally responsible, and globally focused.

A Puget Sound education is not something you get, it’s something you do and someone you become. It is an investment for a lifetime of leadership. Among the qualities of the Puget Sound experience is a collaborative spirit, a sense of cooperation and optimism about the future joined with a conviction that we are capable of doing what needs to be done to realize our collective vision. In accord with our tradition of bold innovation, we have gathered the creative energies of our students and faculty, the dedication of our staff and administrative team, the experience and perspective of our alumni, the wisdom and commitment of our trustees, and the interests of our friends to work together to more effectively tell—and to be—one of the best stories in higher education.

This strategic plan is an investment in the innovative and independent-minded people of Puget Sound, people who are drawn to live and learn in an inspiring place and who engage the world with a clear sense of purpose. It signals this university’s defining moment and fulfills our ambition to become the very best version of ourselves: a national liberal arts college—with the imprint of the Pacific Northwest—that stands with distinction among the most highly regarded colleges in the nation.


Three decades of disciplined decision making and focus on mission transformed the University of Puget Sound from a regional comprehensive university into a top-tier national liberal arts college. We must now establish the financial platform to sustain and advance these achievements and distinguish our position within a new group of peers as one of the nation’s premier colleges with a distinctive set of assets, the educational opportunities of a great university, and the unique advantages of our urban and natural setting.


INNOVATE: Enhance and distinguish the Puget Sound experience.
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INSPIRE: Build an inspiring physical environment for learning.
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ENGAGE: Forge lifelong relationships.
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INVEST: Strengthen our financial position.
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