To the Heights! University of Puget Sound Turns 125

January 17, 2013

Year-long celebration features public talks, athletics events, and exhibits

TACOMA, Wash. – On March 17, 2013, it will be exactly 125 years since the wintery Saturday in 1888 when Methodist pioneers founded University of Puget Sound, a Tacoma institution that they aimed to make a “praise in all the land.”

To mark the anniversary, University of Puget Sound—now an independent liberal arts college of national standing—is inviting its neighbors and the greater community to a series of public events (see below). The talks and exhibits, most of them free, will bring to life the often tumultuous times of the past 125 years, celebrate the achievements of local civic leaders, and share the ideas of some forward-looking thinkers.

Over the last century and a quarter, Puget Sound and the city of Tacoma have been deeply intertwined. Faculty and staff at the university joined with Tacoma citizens to create entities including the Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, Museum of Glass, Double Shot Theater Festival, and South Sound Sustainability Expo, to name a few.

Partnerships with businesses, charities, institutions, families, and schools have enhanced the opportunities for Tacoma’s young people, supported entrepreneurs, assisted people in need, sustained the environment, and created entities of positive change, such as Puget Sound’s Civic Scholarship Initiative, Race and Pedagogy Initiative, and Sound Policy Institute.

The people of Tacoma have likewise supported Puget Sound: cheering on the Logger athletic teams, attending concerts and lectures, studying in the community music program, receiving free care at the college’s occupational and physical therapy clinics, tuning in to radio station KUPS, and hiring student interns and graduates, many of whom choose to make Tacoma their home.

This year of its 125th anniversary, Puget Sound will be celebrating in many ways on campus, as well as extending a welcome to the public to attend special events, including those below.

The Drive for 125: All spring long, with 125th celebration basketball games on Friday, Jan. 25.
Sports fans are invited to cheer the 23 Logger athletic teams to success in their “Drive for 125” wins during this school year. A special night for basketball fans, with giveaways and prizes, will be Friday, Jan. 25 when the women’s and men’s teams will face off against Whitworth at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.  Our scoreboard of victories so far (we’re more than halfway there!), playing schedules, and more details can be viewed at:

125 Years in the Stacks book exhibit and blog: Jan. 25—March 14
Collins Memorial Library has created two remarkable ways to relive the past 125 years through books. One book from each of the last 125 years was chosen from the university collection to create a selection of works that reflect our changing society. The book exhibit can be viewed at the library (library hours) or online, with commentary and photos, at

125 Years in the Stacks
lecture series: Jan. 28—March 11
Each event below begins at 4 p.m. with tea and cookies in Trimble Forum, Trimble Hall, except the "Brief History" which will be in Rasmussen Rotunda in Wheelock Student Center.

  • Monday, Jan. 28: No Woman Has Ventured as Far: The Art and Adventures of Abby Williams Hill. 
    Living history performer Karen Haas brings landscape painter and activist Abby Williams Hill to life in her one-woman performance. In addition there will be an exhibit of paintings, photographs, news clips, and documents about Abby Williams Hill in the Jones Hall garden-level minigalleries, Jan. 22—March 1.
  • Monday, Feb. 4: The Woman Behind Jones Hall: The Life and Times of Franke Tobey Jones
    Local historian and author Darlyne Reiter shares insights into the life of Franke Tobey Jones and her impact on Puget Sound and the city of Tacoma.

  • Monday, March 11: A Brief History of University of Puget Sound
    George Mills ’68, M.S.'72 and John Finney ’67 provide an overview of our 125-year history in this illustrated presentation.

Wole Soyinka lecture
: Thursday, Feb. 7
The Nigerian Nobel Laureate’s lecture, titled “Writing for Freedom,” will start at 8 p.m., in Schneebeck Concert Hall. Tickets are $20. For more information visit:

Bill Cosby performance: Sunday, Feb. 10
The legendary comedian will share his unique views on life in a standup comedy show starting at 7:30 p.m., in Memorial Fieldhouse. Tickets are $25 and $50. For details and tickets visit:

Gabriella Lettini lecture: Tuesday, March 5
The professor of theological ethics at Starr King School for the Ministry will give a talk at 7:30 p.m. titled “Moral Injury as a Wound of War and the Need for Soul Repair.” The event is free, but tickets must be reserved in advance. More information is available from Wheelock Information Center at 253.879.6013.

More can be learned about Puget Sound, its history, and its anniversary celebration at the 125th Anniversary website. Campus members and alumni are sharing cherished memories on the site through words and images. From Jan. 25, the university’s YouTube channel will air entries from the 125th Anniversary video contest. The winning entries will be announced the week of Feb. 11.

In addition, a historical timeline of Puget Sound covers the college’s early years, six changes of location, the struggles through two World Wars, the drive for academic excellence, a flurry of national recognitions, and examples of the dedication of the men and women who built Puget Sound and the commitment of the Pierce County community, which has sustained the college for 125 years.

On the university’s official birthday of Sunday, March 17, the website will light up with a montage of videos of campus members, alumni, parents, guests, musical artists, and others in the community wishing Puget Sound a “Happy Birthday!”

FOR TICKETS: for Bill Cosby and Wole Soyinka order online at, or call Wheelock Information Center to purchase with a credit card at 253.879.6013.

For directions and a map of the campus:
For accessibility information please contact or 253.879.3236.

Press photos of the University of Puget Sound campus and visiting artists and lecturers be downloaded from:

Photos on page: From top: Puget Sound basketball team in 1909; Loggers beat PLU in Oct. 2005, after a 17-game losing streak; Book by William Hamilton Gibson from 1891; Karen Haas as Abby Williams Hill; a typing class in the Commerce Department in decade of 1910-20.

Tweet this: Happy Birthday #Loggers! Come to our 125th Anniversary public events @univpugetsound #Tacoma #totheheights

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