A short history of UW Bothell

Decades of innovative education

A part of the University of Washington, the UW Bothell campus was established by approval of the state legislature in 1989.

With a founding faculty of just 12 (see a complete list of founding faculty here), the University held its first classes in fall 1990 in a local business park and graduated its first class of three students in 1991.

UW Bothell is now home to almost 6,000 students who are enrolled in more than 55 different undergraduate programs and graduate programs. UW Bothell’s student body is composed of a diverse group of people from around the state, the nation and the world, although most come from Washington’s King and Snohomish counties.

UW Bothell was founded to create greater access to the world-renowned UW traditions of academic excellence and engagement. The campus — which is shared with Cascadia College — sits on 128 acres of picturesque land overlooking the protected North Creek Wetland and the Cascade mountains beyond.

A look at the campus

Although modern in style, UW Bothell’s buildings are designed to complement the land’s natural beauty and to maximize environmental sustainability. The stunning architecture and landscaping earned the campus the Honor Award for Washington Architecture in 2002 from the American Institute of Architects.

The campus was built upon, and still occupies, the traditional shared lands and waters of the Muckleshoot, Snoqualmie, Stillaguamish, Suquamish and Tulalip Nations. After a long period of logging, the land was converted to a 500-acre, purebred cattle ranch owned by the Boone-Truly family. Nestled in the heart of the growing city of Bothell, the property was sold to the state of Washington in 1995. Campus construction and the wetland restoration began shortly thereafter.

The campus community has helped drive more than three decades of UW Bothell’s dynamic development to date, earning a reputation for providing access to an excellent UW education through research, teaching, community partnerships and innovative educational philosophies.

An eye to the future

Guided by the campus strategic plan, Expanding Access, Achieving Excellence, UW Bothell’s future will be even more exceptional.

You are invited to help us fulfill our mission and vision by enrolling in our programs, joining the staff or faculty, becoming a community partner, participating in campus events or making a charitable gift to an academic fund or scholarship program.

Our 30th anniversary

2020 marked our third decade as a UW campus. View this 30th anniversary video for a look at how far we’ve come!