Chronology of University Events

With over 125 years of history, Walla Walla College, now University, has seen its share of trials, tragedy, and celebrations. Here, listed in chronological order, is just a sampling of events that have shaped who we are. Sources include Terrie Aamodt’s “A Bold Venture : a History of Walla Walla College” (1992) and “60 Years of Progress : the Anniversary History of Walla Walla College” (1952).

1892December 7Walla Walla College holds its first class, enrollment 103
1896May 18First graduation, three graduates
1897April 25First Mountain Ash tree planted on campus
1899AugustCollege Bakery opens
1901March 31WWC is incorporated
1902Nov/DecTyphoid epidemic in College Place; three students die
1903JanuarySmallpox epidemic in College Place
1909April 22Jubilee Program celebrates paying off the college debt
 May 24First baccalaureate degree issued
 August 6Artesian well drillers strike water supply
1910October 13The laundry and boiler room at the back of North Hall (old Administration building) catch fire; a wind shift saves the residence hall section
1911OctoberNew power plant replaces one destroyed in 1910 fire
1913January 27University of Washington grants accreditation to the preparatory department of WWC for one year
 March 28College Place SDA church (1st Village Hall) opens
 AutumnWWC enrollment reaches 400 students
1914March 9Broom-making business discontinued
 MayCollegiate Association is created (precursor of ASWWU)
 Sept. 9Bachelor of Music degree instituted
1915MayWestern Collegian (the first yearbook) is published
1916FebruarySnow storm leaves 48 inches of snow in 54 hours
 SeptemberCollegian (a monthly magazine) is first published
1917MayMountain Ash (the renamed yearbook) is first published
  Eleven college students graduate—a new record
 May 24Alumni Association organized
1918November 3Flu epidemic; college closes for about a week
1919January 18College Place SDA church (the first Village Hall) burns
 January 28Fire destroys the fourth floor of the old Ad Building
1920AprilWWC church opens (the second and current Village Hall)
1922SpringASWWC replaces Collegiate Association
1924 Science Building (Bowers Hall) completed
1925February 5Collegian becomes a weekly paper
1926January 21College enrollment reaches 500 students
1927April 28OPS is established
 FallJohnson Music Conservatory completed
1928 FallAGA is established
1931Mar. 31-Apr.1Flood in College Place covers a few streets in 4-5 ft of water (second photo) (film)
 April 22First accreditation report denies accreditation to WWC
1933July 1Fire destroys most of Rachel Oakes Preston House (women’s residence hall)
 October 17WWC admitted to the Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools of Seventh-day Adventists by the Board of Regents (denominational accreditation)
1934AutumnConard Hall completed
1935January 15WWC receives senior college accreditation from the University of Washington
 April 3WWC receives four-year accreditation from the Northwest Association of Secondary and Higher Schools
19361936Conard Hall dedicated
 July 156.0 earthquake rattles windows at WWC
1938August 4Fire in the West Hall basement
1939SpringColumbia Auditorium opens (second photo)
1940Dec. 12Men’s residence hall quarantined because of influenza epidemic
1942 Martin Airfield is built in College Place
1944May 11Peterson Memorial library is inhabited
1945Dec. 24City of College Place is incorporated
1947SummerSchool of Nursing opens at Portland Sanitarium
 SeptemberSittner Hall, though unfinished, is occupied
1948AutumnMaster in Biology approved
1950JuneMaster in Education approved
1954AugustMarine station property is purchased at Rosario Beach, near Anacortes, Washington
 AutumnFirst Mask is published
1957OctoberOver 100 residence hall students are incapacitated by the flu
1958 Cafeteria (later named Kellogg Hall) is built
 OctoberCollege drills a new artesian well to replace 1909 well
1959JanuaryEnrollment raises above 1400 for first time
1962October 20College Church (now University Church) holds first service (construction video)
1963April 25KGTS-FM goes on the air for first time
1964 Walla Walla Valley Academy (WWVA) opens in current location
 April 29Kretschmar Hall officially named, dedicated November 1st
1965August 22Smith Hall dedicated
 Nov. 14College Bakery closes
1966 West HallCollege Bakeryold swimming poolold academy/normal building and the academy annex all removed during the school year
 February 27Music department moves into the Fine Arts Center, dedicated December 4th
1967June 2Life Sciences building (Rigby Hall) is dedicated
1969 Alumni Gym (Winter Education Complex or WEC) is opened
1970OctoberHighrise women’s residence hall (Foreman Hall) opens
 October 3Biology Lodge near Tollgate, Oregon burns
1971October 11Engineering Department is accredited by the Engineers’ Council for Professional Development
1972AprilBoard approves the purchase of Hallmark Apartments, which opened in September
 DecemberCollege is reaccredited for ten years
1973May 17OPS ceases to function
1974January 13Clyde and Mary Harris Art Gallery opens
 AutumnHarris Pine Mills opens in College Place
1975January 8Fire in a building adjacent to Foreman Hall damages the residence hall building
1976OctoberEnrollment tops 2000 for first time
1977 Health Sciences Offices open
1978 Nursing Residence Hall, Portland Campus (Howard Hanson Hall) opens
 SpringOPS reinstated
 March 23Columbia Auditorium is destroyed by fire
 AutumnClasses begin in Industrial Technology Center (now Canaday Technology Center or CTC) (second photo)
1980AprilSociology and Social Work department is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
1981 Havstad Alumni Center opens.
 September 4College laundry closes (second photo)
1988JanuaryFirst Master of Social Work classes taught
1994Nov. 3Lindgren Chemistry Wing (Rigby) dedication
1996August 20New College Store ribbon cutting
1997 School of Social Work and Sociology opens campus in Missoula, Montana
 April 27Chan Shun Pavilion dedicated
2001 School of Social Work and Sociology opens campus in Billings, Montana
 MayLindgren Hall (Rosario) opens
2003AutumnOriginal Administration building demolished (second photo) (third photo)
 Sept. 16Mountain View Apartments official opening
2004August 22Rogers Adventist School (new) ribbon cutting
 Dec. 17Rogers Elementary School demolished
2007April 28Grand opening of new Administration building  (second photo)
 September 1Walla Walla College officially becomes Walla Walla University
2008SummerSoccer field Completed
2009SummerThe Hebbel-Janke Softball Complex (women's) completed & dedicated on October 4th
2010MarchThe Express expansion completed
 NovemberNursing, Health, PE, and Social Work remodeling of WEC finished
2011November 3Atlas Opens
2015 Master of Arts in Media Ministry (changed to Cinema, Religion, and Worldview in 2018) established
2015-2016June - DecemberCollege Avenue reconstruction project; Before (General Campus 2015) - After (General Campus 2016) and Before (College Place 2014) - After (College Place 2016)
2017 Bowers Hall remodel; Before (Bowers Hall 2017), Renovating (Bowers Hall 2017)Ribbon Ceremony (Bowers Hall 2017), and After (Bowers Hall 2018)
2017 Move of Counseling and Testing Center and University Health Care and remodel of the University Bookstore
2020March 13Due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, campus closes and all classes and tests go online for the end of Winter quarter and all Spring quarter. Graduation 2020 is held online for the first time in history!
 JuneFirst doctorate degree offered: Doctor of Social Work
2021AugustA new well starts to be drilled