Our History: 1920–69

Growing Enrollment and Academic Stature: 1920–44

In the 1920s, Seattle Pacific College established a normal school for teacher training. The College also began to communicate its expanding programs to a wider audience, and enrollment climbed from 40 to more than 400. The first summer school program opened in 1931, and SPC’s three-year normal school was accredited in 1933. Full accreditation of the College’s four-year liberal arts program came in 1936 by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges.

When World War II ended in 1945, the College continued to grow — from 400 students to 1,400. And it would be less than a decade when the first graduate degree, a master of arts in religion, was awarded in 1952. Later, the graduate curriculum expanded to include programs in religion and philosophy, missions, biblical literature, and Christian education. And by 1955, the first master of education degree was awarded.

The College Expands: 1945–69

Between 1945 and 1959, five additional buildings were constructed on campus. One was Royal Brougham Pavilion, which housed a new School of Recreational Leadership that included facilities for physical education and intercollegiate sports, and programs for the community and city youth. Other buildings constructed before 1960 included McKinley Auditorium, Watson Hall, Moyer Hall, and Marston Hall, the latter three built as residence halls to house the college’s increasing on-campus enrollment.

In 1955, Seattle Pacific also acquired 155 acres on Whidbey Island called Camp Casey. Purchased from the U.S. government as part of a surplus turn-of-the-century (19th) fort, the College converted the property into a seaside campus for field study and outdoor education.

In the 1960s, 15 new campus buildings were constructed, including Demaray Hall, Crawford Music Building, Beegle Hall, the Student Union Building, Weter Memorial Library, and Hill and Ashton residence halls. In addition, Seattle Pacific remodeled 10 existing buildings, including improvements to Camp Casey, and acquired more than 70 real estate properties.