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Westminster College (Utah)

Westminster College
Westminster College Logo
Motto "Pro Christo et Libertate"
Motto in English
For Christ and for Liberty
Established 1875
Type Private
Endowment $46.1 million[1]
President Brian Levin-Stankevich
Academic staff
Undergraduates 2,168[3]
Postgraduates 719[3]

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
40°43′54″N 111°51′18″W / 40.7318°N 111.8550°W / 40.7318; -111.8550Coordinates: 40°43′54″N 111°51′18″W / 40.7318°N 111.8550°W / 40.7318; -111.8550{{#coordinates:40.7318|-111.8550|type:edu|||||| |primary |name=

Campus Urban
Athletics NAIA division 1
Colors Purple and Gold          
Nickname Template:If empty
Mascot Griffin

Westminster College is a private liberal arts college located in the Sugar House neighborhood of Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. The college comprises four schools: the School of Arts and Sciences, the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business, the School of Education, and the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. It is the only accredited liberal arts college in the state of Utah.


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, members of many Protestant Christian denominations flocked to Salt Lake City in order to try to convert people who belonged to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[citation needed] Westminster is the only remaining vestige of a trend in the late 19th century in which the Protestants set up private primary and secondary schools and offered free tuition to children in order to try to convert them from other religions.[citation needed]

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, and the school become strictly a college.

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 the district of London where it was devised. Today, students from all religious persuasions (or none) are welcome as Westminster severed its ties to the Presbyterian church in 1974.

The college is also no longer antagonistic toward The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. About 37 percent of its students are LDS. The school also proposed abandoning its traditional crest emblem, a shield emblazoned with the term "Pro Christo et Libertate." After students actively protested the administrative effort, however, the school crest was preserved, though in 2007, it was finally abandoned as the new crest with Converse Hall took its place.

Westminster was the first accredited two-year junior college in Utah. It became a liberal arts institution in 1949.


Originally located in downtown Salt Lake City, the college moved to its present campus on Script error: No such module "convert". in the Sugar House neighborhood of the city in 1911 where it is still located today.[4]

Westminster's Campus is known for its natural beauty and elegant architecture. Located on Script error: No such module "convert". in the middle of a long-established community, the campus has been designed to blend in with the neighborhood. Emigration Creek runs through the campus.

The college is located in the Sugar House neighborhood of Salt Lake City. As the campus is within walking distance from Sugar House Park, which is one of the largest in Salt Lake City, outdoor activities are very commonplace.

There is only one meal location on campus, but within the Sugar House neighborhood there are many places conveniently located close to campus. Westminster students can use their student IDs to get discounts at many of these places.

On campus are two gyms each equipped with a basketball court, weight room, and studio.

The larger of the buildings, the Eccles Health Wellness and Athletics Center (HWAC), also has an indoor pool, three story rock climbing wall, and racket ball court.

As Westminster College is located on little acreage in the heart of Salt Lake City, administration has had to be careful and smart about the growing student population. The sixteenth president of Westminster College, Dr. Michael S. Bassis, saw a need for growing into and connecting with the Sugar House community. During his presidency he acquired Garfield School to the east, with plans on converting it into a center for the arts.

He also struck a deal to have Westminster on the Draw built on 1300 East, directly across the street from Sugar House Park. This space has many uses. At seven floors, the bottom level will be used as academic and event space. The second floor (street level) will be used as business space. While the remaining floors will be used as housing for upper-classmen and graduate students.

Organization and administration

Westminster College has had seventeen presidents since its founding, the current president is Dr. Brian L. Levin-Stankevich, who was appointed in July 2012. It had an endowment of $46.1 million as of June 30, 2009.[5]

Academic profile

Westminster College is a comprehensive college blending liberal arts studies with professional programs. The college comprises four schools: the School of Arts and Sciences, the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business, the School of Education, and the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. The college operates on a fall and spring semester system with a mini term in May and eight-and twelve-week summer terms.

Westminster offers 34 undergraduate majors conferring BA and BS degrees (not including pre-med, pre-law, and pre-dental programs). In addition to a number of post-baccalaureate certificate programs in various fields, Westminster also offers 13 graduate degrees: Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Business Administration in Technology Management (MBATM), Master of Arts in Community Leadership (MACL), Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), Master of Education (MEd), Master of Public Health (MPH), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Master of Science in Nursing Education (MSNEd), Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia (MSNA), Master of Professional Communication (MPC), Master of Strategic Communication, and Master of Science in Professional Counseling (MSPC).[2]

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.

Westminster College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Programs throughout the college are accredited as well.[2]


Westminster College is the only private, non-denominational, comprehensive liberal arts college in Utah and one of the very few in the Intermountain West. Admissions statistics advertise a student-faculty ratio of 9:1. Peterson's Guide to Competitive Colleges includes Westminster College in the top 10 percent of 3,600 public and private colleges and universities nationwide. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Westminster in the top tier of Master's universities in the West and as an excellent educational value. In the 2009 edition, Westminster was ranked 19th, up four places from the previous year. Additionally, Westminster was recognized as a great value, ranking 13th on the list of "Great Schools, Great Prices" in this category.[6]

The Princeton Review included Westminster College in its annual guide of "The 368 Best Colleges" for 2008, and has also ranked the College 18th in the nation for "best quality of life."

Student life

The Associated Students of Westminster College or ASWC is the student association on campus. The organization is split into five distinct branches.

The Executive Cabinet (ECab), which is led by the student body president, that handles all government related items. The Student Activities Commission (SAC), which is led by the SAC president, that manages, plans, and oversees all student events, activities, and programs on campus. The InterClub Council (ICC), which is led by the ICC president and ICC Board, that looks over all student clubs and organizations. The Judicial Council (JudCo), which is led by the chief justice, which oversees all of ASWC to assure they are following all constitutions and by-laws. And finally, the senate, which is led by the speaker of the senate, who pass laws and oversee the budget process for all of ASWC.

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

The school boasts over 70 campus clubs and organizations.


Westminster College teams, nicknamed athletically as the Griffins, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division I level, primarily competing in the Frontier Conference. Men's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, skiing, snowboarding, soccer and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, skiing, snowboarding, soccer, track & field and volleyball. The Griffins men's and women's alpine skiing and snowboard teams compete in the United States Ski Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA), men's lacrosse competes at the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) Division II level in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference (RMLC), and women's lacrosse competes in the US Lacrosse Women's Division Intercollegiate Associates (WDIA) in the Rocky Mountain Women's Lacrosse League (RMWLL).

Prior to 1979, Westminster College athletic teams were called the Parsons, and the school was a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) , which the conference was then part of the NAIA at the time. The school joined that said conference in the 1967-68 academic year. 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 athletic program, and the school's mascot is now the griffin.

In the 2006–07 academic year, Westminster began fielding a men's lacrosse following the completion of a new athletic field on campus. The Westminster men's lacrosse won the 2008 Division II MCLA National Championship held in Irving, Texas at Texas Stadium with a 17–10 win over Grand Valley State.[7] The program won the first national championship in the school's 130-year history, in only its second year. The Men's Basketball team has had notable success as the Griffins have gone 216–99 (.684) overall while proving even more dominant in Frontier Conference play with a 105–33 (.761) mark on their way to six of the last eight Frontier Conference titles while earning a spot in the NAIA National Tournament eight times.

On February 11, 2014, Westminster College President Brian Levin-Stankevich announced that the school had applied for NCAA Division II membership. The school had begun a three-year process toward full membership of the NCAA. If its application was accepted, Westminster would re-join its former conference home, the RMAC, effectively the 2015-16 academic year. [8]

Notable people

  • Jeffrey Nielsen – Current professor of Philosophy, best known for his dismissal from BYU for criticizing the LDS Church's opposition of gay marriage.[citation needed]
  • Geoff Stradling – Hollywood composer and orchestrator for TV series and movies. Stradling frequently works on movie scores with Ladd McIntosh, a former Westminster professor who led the Westminster Jazz Band to numerous awards in the early 1970s [1].
  • Richard D. Wood – A noted American molecular biologist and winner of the Meyenburg Prize [2] for identification of proteins involved in repairing DNA after ultraviolet irradiation [3].

Utah State House Representative for the 26th district and Alumni Board member.[13]

  • Kaitlyn Farrington- USA 2014 Halfpipe gold medalist in the Sochi Olimpics
  • Brigadier General Charles (Chuck) Chiarotti - United States Marines Corps Logistics Officer. Currently Commanding General of the 2nd Marines Logistic Group. Commissioned into the United States Marine Corps on December 21, 1985. Graduated from Westminster College in December 1985.[4].


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved February 19, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "Westminster College: Westminster Fact Sheet". Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  3. ^ a b "Westminster College: President's Annual Report 2008" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved February 19, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Westminster College: About Westminster". Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  7. ^ Coyne, Jac (May 17, 2008). "Big Blue Owns Big D". Lacrosse Magazine. Retrieved December 18, 2010. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "David Litvack". Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  10. ^ "Maddie Bowman". United States Olympic Committee. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  11. ^ Osterlund, Peter. "Forbes 30 under 30: Colleges They Don't Talk About". 60second Recap. Recap Media. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  12. ^ "Les Brown". Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  13. ^ "David Litvack". Retrieved 23 April 2014. 

External links