City of Tacoma Declares March 17, 2013 "University of Puget Sound Day"

March 1, 2013

The national liberal arts college celebrates its 125th anniversary

TACOMA, Wash. – The City of Tacoma has declared March 17, 2013, as “University of Puget Sound Day” in honor of the university’s founding on that day 125 years ago.  

At the council’s meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 19, Mayor Marilyn Strickland read a proclamation detailing the rationale for a commemorative day to mark Puget Sound’s founding in 1888. Please see the proclamation below.

Puget Sound President Ronald R. Thomas thanked the council for the honor and expressed appreciation to the city of Tacoma and its residents for the critical support they have given the university for more than a century. He said this included Tacoma citizens’ participation in a $1 million dollar-for-dollar fundraising, backed by the Methodist Church, that allowed the purchase of the first forty-acres of the university’s campus site in the city’s north end and the 1924 construction of Jones Hall, the first building on the current site.

“They knew a great city needed a great university,” Thomas said. “Railroadmen and timbermen, nurses and pastors and politicians all contributed to that effort.  . . . This city over the last century and a quarter has become a great city, and we, thanks to you and the work of many who valued and supported us, have become a great university.

“All of us at Puget Sound are deeply honored by your proclamation today, as we are honored by the history of cooperation and commitment between the city and the university . . . that has been a hallmark of our achievements for the last 125 years together.”

Councilmember Ryan Mello ’01 spoke up about Puget Sound’s service in attracting and educating students from around the world, many of whom fell in love with Tacoma and stayed here. Mayor Strickland commended President Thomas on his commitment to involve Puget Sound in the community, through activities including student volunteerism, public speakers, and the Race and Pedagogy Initiative.

Councilmember Victoria Woodards said that Tacoma’s investment in the university was far outweighed by all Puget Sound has given back. She cited the example of the university’s 1968 financial support for the founding of the Tacoma Urban League, where Woodards is currently CEO and president.

Mayor Strickland presented Thomas with a mounted copy of the proclamation recognizing March 17, 2013 as the commemorative day. Each of the council members was given a University of Puget Sound 125th Anniversary T-shirt.

The anniversary is being celebrated on campus through numerous events for the public, alumni, and campus members and their families. On Sunday, March 17, the University of Puget Sound 125th Anniversary Web pages will come alive with a video montage of students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, lecture guests, musical artists, and others in the community wishing Puget Sound a “Happy Birthday!” 

Below is the proclamation by the City of Tacoma.

University of Puget Sound Day Proclamation

WHEREAS: The University of Puget Sound was founded on March 17, 1888, in the City of Tacoma, soon after the City of Tacoma was incorporated and a year before Washington became the 42nd state in the union; and

WHEREAS: The University has occupied five campus homes here in the City of Tacoma since that time and took up residence at 15th Street and Alder in 1924 to begin building its stately Tudor Gothic campus; and

WHEREAS: Puget Sound has educated generations of Tacomans, including more than 7,000 alumni who now reside in Tacoma and Pierce County; and

WHEREAS: The University has evolved through a century and a quarter together with our City of Destiny to become a nationally recognized, independent liberal arts college, the only one of its kind in Western Washington, named this year as “A College that Changes Lives,” one of only forty in the nation; and

WHEREAS: Puget Sound’s faculty have earned seven Washington State Professor of the Year awards, including the first ever awarded and the most recent, for their excellence in teaching and scholarship, more than any other college or university in the state; and

WHEREAS: The University has established itself as a consistent national leader in producing Fulbright Scholars and Peace Corps Volunteers; and

WHEREAS: The vitality of the city and that of the college are deeply intertwined through generations of collaboration in the arts, science, business, education, and community justice to make Tacoma one of the great places to live, work, and learn;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that I, Marilyn Strickland, Mayor of the City of Tacoma, with the concurrence of the City Council, do hereby proclaim March 17, 2013, “University of Puget Sound Day” in Tacoma and urge all citizens to join us in celebrating this memorable day with President Thomas, his wife Mary, and the University of Puget Sound students, faculty, staff, alumni, and trustees.

View a video of the City of Tacoma council meeting that made the declaration at:

Visit the university’s 125th Anniversary Web pages for more news, photos, videos, historic timeline, and more at:

Tweet this: March 17, 2013 is University of Puget Sound Day in Tacoma in honor of @univpugetsound 125th anniversary!

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