Westminster College has played a pivotal role in the educational heritage of the intermountain area. Founded in 1875 as the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute, a preparatory school, Westminster first offered college classes in 1897 as Sheldon Jackson College. Named in honor of its primary benefactor, Sheldon Jackson, the college operated for many years on the Collegiate Institute campus in downtown Salt lake City.
Gradually the institute became identified as the college preparatory department, and high school classes continued to be an integral part of the curriculum until 1945. In 1902, college trustees adopted the new name, Westminster. Moving to its present location in 1911, Westminster became the first accredited two-year junior college in the intermountain area. In 1935 Westminster modified its curriculum to qualify as a four-year junior college and in 1949 became a four-year liberal arts institution offering baccalaureate degrees in the arts and sciences.
Today Westminster exists as a fully independent, privately funded, nondenominational, comprehensive liberal arts institution of higher learning with selected graduate programs, meeting the West's educational needs as it has since 1875.
Westminster College is a private, independent college dedicated to student learning. We are a community of learners with a long and honored tradition of caring deeply about students and their education. We offer liberal arts and professional education in courses of study for undergraduate, selected graduate, and other innovative degree and non-degree programs. Students are challenged to experiment with ideas, raise questions, critically examine alternatives, and make informed decisions. We encourage students to accept responsibility for their learning, to discover and pursue their passions, and to promote more equitable and sustainable communities.
Our purposes are to prepare students to lead lives of learning, accomplishment, and service and to help them develop skills and attributes critical for success in a diverse and interdependent world. We promote distinctive approaches to engaged learning that emphasize theory and practice in our academic and co-curricular programs. Grounded in a culture of creativity and innovation we work to pursue excellence while promoting inclusiveness and respect for differences.