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University of Puget Sound

Tacoma, WA
The Place
On Puget Sound's campus, Tudor-Gothic buildings of ivy-covered brick blend harmoniously with 97 acres of native fir groves, emerald-green lawns, and lush landscaping. The campus is a vital collegiate community surrounded by a comfortable, residential neighborhood in Tacoma's North End, not far from the cultural and scenic downtown area or from the Commencement Bay waterfront. SeaTac Airport and downtown Seattle are about 25 miles north on Interstate 5, and just an hour and a half drive from campus are Mount Rainier National Park and the Olympic National Forest - offering unlimited climbing and hiking opportunities in ancient rainforests and along ocean beaches.
Our name derives from the Puget Sound region in western Washington, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean ringed by two of North America's most imposing and picturesque mountain ranges-the Cascades and the Olympics. Nestled among it all is the city of Tacoma and the University of Puget Sound. Tacoma, with a population of nearly 200,000, offers students a laboratory for classroom research, a range of internship opportunities, and a place to practice citizenship through volunteer service.
The Curriculum
The University of Puget Sound has embraced a rigorous academic tradition in the liberal arts since its inception in 1888. Puget Sound is the only nationally ranked liberal arts school in western Washington, and one of only two independent colleges in Washington state granted a charter by Phi Beta Kappa. Graduating seniors at Puget Sound have received Watson Fellowships at a rate of better than one per year and have earned nearly a dozen Fulbright awards in the last four years.
Puget Sound is a little larger than most of its peer liberal arts colleges. This means our academic departments can cover a wider range of topics - we offer more than 1,200 courses in a single year. It also means that we draw students from across the United States, as well as other nations-students from nearly every state and 16 countries are represented on our campus. This wider reach makes it possible to recruit top faculty members who share strong commitments to teaching and are engaged in significant research and creative work.

At the heart of the Puget Sound experience is the core curriculum, distinguished by its interdisciplinary approach. The core extends through all four years, from first-year seminars to the capstone connections courses in five approaches-to-knowing areas: humanistic, mathematic, scientific, social scientific, and fine arts.
The People
It's the people who give a college its personality, and at Puget Sound you'll find an open, diverse community of 2,450 undergraduate students, 150 graduate students, 212 full-time faculty, and 440 full-time staff members.
Professors are thought provoking and accessible; 98 percent of tenure-line faculty members hold a Ph.D. or the highest degree in their fields. The average class size is 19 students with a student-faculty ratio of 11:1, benefiting our students with ample individualized attention.
Our students and faculty come from varied ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds, and we seek to create an environment where everyone is comfortable, where dialogue is open, where differences are explored, and where people can truly know one another.
Academic year 2005-06 will mark the University of Puget Sound's 15th year sponsoring a Diversity Theme Year. A major feature of the theme year is the focus on lectures, arts events, programs, and student activities around a selected theme. The theme year program has proven successful in highlighting issues of identity and cultural awareness, in strengthening student affinity groups and coalitions, and in giving visibility to many groups that are underrepresented on our campus. Theme years open opportunities for the campus community to address broad questions-such as those of visibility and invisibility, economic inequality and justice, religious conviction, and acceptance of differences that cross boundaries of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.
Athletic programs at Puget Sound are designed for students. An NCAA Division III school, we have aligned ourselves with nearly 400 colleges and universities nationwide that believe in student-focused athletic experience. More than 450 undergraduates participate in intercollegiate sports each year on 23 teams, 11 for men and 12 for women. Puget Sound also offers more than 30 activity courses, including sailing, scuba diving, backpacking, fitness, rock climbing, tennis, dance, aerobics, and golf.
Puget Sound's campus is large enough to support a wide range of activities, yet small enough to enable all students to be involved. Three out of four Puget Sound students volunteer service to the community, one of the highest participation rates in the nation. Other choices include Greek-letter societies, academic activities, student media, religious organizations, and a wide range of interest-related hobbies and organizations. The initiatives and enthusiasm of our students drive many on-campus activities and creates a dynamic environment.
Tacoma was named the number one mid-sized city in the nation for entrepreneurship by Entrepreneur magazine, Money Magazine selected Tacoma as one of the country's most livable mid-sized cities, and Tacoma's Museum of Glass: International Center for Contemporary Art was named one of 2003's seven "Architectural Wonders of the World" by Conde Nast Traveler.