Westminster College, Salt Lake City

Westminster College, Salt Lake City

Infobox University
name = Westminster College

established = 1875
type = Private
president = Michael S. Bassis
city = Sugar House, Salt Lake City
coor = coord|40.7318|-111.8550|display=inline,title|type:edu
state = Utah
country = United States
students = 2500
faculty = approximately 145
campus = Urban
mascot = Griffin
free_label = Athletics
free = NAIA division 1
website = http://www.westminstercollege.edu/

Westminster College, Salt Lake City, or simply "Westminster College" is a four year accredited liberal arts college located in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. It also offers four graduate programs. Its mascot is the griffin. It is the only nondenominational private liberal arts college in the state of Utah.

Westminster enrolls approximately 2,000 undergraduate and 500 graduate students from 39 states and 31 foreign nations.


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, many Protestant denominations flocked to Salt Lake City in order to try to "save" people who belonged to what they considered a cultFact|date=March 2007. 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 out of 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 (Mormons). About 40 percent of its students are Latter-Day Saints, approximately the same percentage as for the general population of Salt Lake City. Many LDS students attending the school say they like the proximity to church activities but prefer the open, diverse and less restrictive attitude at Westminster over the parochialism they would find at an LDS school such as Brigham Young University. 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 GriffinFact|date=February 2007. The school also proposed abandoning its traditional crest emblem, a shield emblazoned with the term "Pro Christo et Libertate." However, students, including student body president, Jonathan Jemming, actively protested the administrative effort and the school crest was preservedFact|date=February 2007.

Westminster was the first accredited two year junior college in Utah. It then underwent changes to become a liberal arts institution in 1949.

Originally located in downtown Salt Lake City, the college moved to its present campus on 27 acres (109,000 m²) in the Sugar House neighborhood of the city.

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


Westminster offers 35 undergraduate majors and 10 graduate degrees. It offers graduate degrees: Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Business Administration in Technology Management (MBATM), Professional Bachelor of Business Administration (PBBA), Master of Science in Technology Commercialization (MSTC), Master of Education (MEd), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and Master of Professional Communication (MPC). 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.Recently, Westminster College became one of the first colleges in the west to create an academic program specifically in paleontology.

tudent 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.

chool publications

The school newspaper is a weekly called the "Forum". There is also a nationally recognized literary journal known as "Ellipsis". The "Etosian," Westminster's student yearbook, was last published in 1987.


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 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

*David Litvack '94; Utah State House Representative for the 26th district and Alumni Board Member.

*Bill Gore ; Inventor of Gore-Tex

External links

* [http://www.westminstercollege.edu Official website]

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