George Fox University

George Fox University (GFU) is a Christian university in Newberg, Oregon. Founded as a school for Quakers in 1891[1], the private school has more than 4,000 students combined between its main campus in Newberg and its centers in Portland, Salem and Redmond. Graduate studies include psychology, social work, business, education, counseling, physical therapy and seminary. The 108-acre (0.44 km2) main campus is near downtown Newberg, near the junction of Oregon Route 99W and Oregon Route 219. George Fox competes athletically at the NCAA Division III level in the Northwest Conference as the Bruins. The school colors are navy blue and old gold.

George Fox University
Former names
George Fox College, Pacific College, Friends Pacific Academy
Religious affiliation
Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends[2]
Academic affiliations
Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, Christian College Consortium
Endowment$16.1 million (2017)[3]
PresidentRobin E. Baker
Academic staff
196 (full time)
Other students
288 degree completion[4]
Location, ,

45.303629°N 122.968254°W / 45.303629; -122.968254
CampusSuburban, 108 acres (0.44 km2)
ColorsOld Gold and Navy Blue[5]
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division IIINorthwest Conference


The university was founded in Newberg, Oregon, in 1885 by Quaker pioneers, originally called Friends Pacific Academy for several years before becoming a college in 1891 as Pacific College.[6] The Bruin mascot comes from a real bear cub found in 1887 in the Coast Range's foothills near Carlton, about 15 miles (24 km) west of Newberg.[7] The cub's mother had been shot and a Pacific Academy student found the cub and brought it back to campus. Years later, the bear hide became the senior class's unofficial mascot and other students often attempted to steal it away.[8] After the hide deteriorated, a leather replica was created and called Bruin Jr. Students today still participate in student-government-sponsored class competitions called "Bruin brawls" for possession of Bruin Jr.[9]

In 1893 the school was incorporated as a joint-stock company. It became a four-year school in 1925.[10] Herbert Hoover’s uncle Dr. H. J. Minthorn served as the school’s first president, and Hoover was an early student at the academy.[10] The school’s name changed to George Fox College in 1949 to honor George Fox, the founder of the Quaker movement.[10]

From 1991 to 2010, George Fox provided each traditional undergraduate student with a computer. In 1996, the college merged with Western Evangelical Seminary to form George Fox University.[11] Associate professor of biology Dwight Kimberly received the Carnegie Foundation's Oregon Professor of the Year award in 2000.[12] Associate professor of theatre Rhett Luedtke was one of three faculty members nationally to receive a National Directing Fellow Award from the John F. Kennedy Center in 2010.

The student body has grown more than 500% since 1986, when enrollment was 549.[13] With more than 4,100 students in Newberg, Portland, Salem, and at other Oregon teaching sites, George Fox is now the state's second-largest private university.[4][14]

In 2014, prompted by a housing dispute involving a transgender student, George Fox University sought and received an exemption from Title IX's requirements with respect to transgender students.[15]

In 2015, the school completed a new residence hall, Brandt Hall, named for former school president David H. Brandt and his wife, Melva.[16] A new dining hall, Canyon Commons, opened in the fall of 2016.


George Fox grants degrees at each of the traditional levels of university education, baccalaureates, master's degrees, and doctorates. The university participates in the Richter Scholars program, which sponsors 15 to 25 students each year in encouragement of original research.[17] The university also offers study-abroad opportunities through the "Best Semester" program offered by the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).[18][19]


George Fox's athletic teams are known as the Bruins.[20] The university offers 21 varsity sports – eleven for women, ten for men – and competes in the nine-member Northwest Conference at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III level.[21] George Fox offers baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, and track and field (indoor and outdoor) for men. Women compete in basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field (indoor and outdoor), and volleyball.

After four decades in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), George Fox University and the Northwest Conference switched affiliation to the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 1998.

The Bruins have enjoyed recent success at the national level. The baseball team won the 2004 NCAA Division III national championship, a game that was named one of the top 50 moments in Northwest Sports History by Portland radio station KFXX AM 1080, "The Fan."[22][23] In 2009, the school's women's basketball team went unbeaten (32–0) and capped the season with a 60–53 defeat of Washington University in St. Louis in the title game.[23] In winning, George Fox claimed the first Division III national women's championship for any program west of the Rocky Mountains.[24] Head coach Scott Rueck was named the NCAA Division III national coach of the year.[24] More recently, the 2011–12 [25] and 2014-15 [26] women's basketball teams reached the championship game of the NCAA Division III tournament.

Football was reintroduced as a varsity sport at George Fox in the fall of 2014 after a 45-year hiatus from the sport. The head coach for the resurrection was Chris Casey, brother to former Bruin and current Oregon State Beaver Baseball coach Pat Casey.[27][28]

Student life

George Fox University is a full member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Students sign a lifestyle agreement, attend required chapel/current-event gatherings, and participate in service projects. No statement of faith or religious preference is required to attend, although the student body is overwhelmingly Christian. Faculty members and staff are required to sign a statement professing faith in traditionally Christian doctrines.[29]

The university hosts dozens of Christian speakers each year through twice-weekly chapel/current-event gatherings.[30] Hundreds of students each year participate in Winter and Spring "Serve trips" throughout the Western United States, Mexico, and Canada. In groups of 10–25, students give a week of either break to provide volunteer labor for missions, homeless shelters, nonprofits, and other charitable causes.[31] Faculty, staff, and students also participate in "Serve Day" each September. A weekday off from work and classes allows over 90% of eligible individuals the opportunity to volunteer at local churches, schools, nonprofits, etc. performing manual labor and maintenance work.[32]

George Fox University is a center for Quaker thought (although only about 5% of the student body are Quakers)[33] and houses an extensive library of historical Quaker literature. The Northwest Yearly Meeting gathers each summer on campus and is headquartered adjacent to GFU.[34] In 1984, the university founded its Center for Peace Learning, now known as the Center for Peace and Justice, as an outgrowth of its connection to the Friends peace testimony.[35]

Campus locations

In addition to its main campus in Newberg, the university teaches classes in four other locations: Newberg, Portland, Salem, and Redmond. The Newberg campus includes two structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[36] One, Minthorn Hall, was built in 1886 and is still used for classes.[37] The other, Jesse Edwards House, was constructed in 1883 and serves as the residence for the university president.[38]

A variety of student housing is available on Newberg's campus including 23 houses, 10 residence halls, and four apartment buildings.[39]


Forbes included George Fox in its 2009-10 ranking of the top 100 "America's best colleges." George Fox ranked 58th, highest among colleges affiliated with the then 111-member Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).[40]

George Fox University is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a first-tier regional university in the West.[41] According to data compiled by that magazine for its 2014 "America's Best Colleges" issue, George Fox ranks No. 58 out of approximately 1,800 accredited institutions in the nation in percentage of students (49%) studying outside the country before graduation.[42]

In 2011-12, Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine rated George Fox among the top four Christian colleges and top 80 private schools nationwide in its "Best Value" assessment.[43]

Notable alumni and educators

Those who have attended or graduated from George Fox include:

Those who have taught at George Fox include:


  1. "Celebrating 125 Years". Retrieved October 14, 2019.
  2. "What Friends Believe > A Brief History of Friends". The Work of Northwest Yearly Meeting. Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends. Archived from the original on 2012-04-08. Retrieved 2012-04-06.
  3. As of June 30, 2017. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY2016 to FY2017". Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  4. "About George Fox University". George Fox University.
  5. George Fox University Visual Style Guide (PDF). Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  6. Horner, John B. (1919). Oregon: Her History, Her Great Men, Her Literature. The J.K. Gill Co.: Portland. p. 255.
  7. Athletics at George Fox University: The Bruin Mascot from George Fox University
  8. "Bruin Beginnings Spring 2008 - George Fox Journal Online". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  9. Felton, Rob (George Fox Journal, Spring 2008). "Bruin Brawl - A 110-year-old school tradition keeps creating new memories... and a few bruises too"
  10. Corning, Howard M. (1989) Dictionary of Oregon History. Binfords & Mort Publishing. p. 98.
  11. Tsao, Emily (May 22, 1998). "Man who led George Fox to renown dies at 57". The Oregonian. pp. D3.
  13. "George Fox University breaks enrollment record - News Releases". News Releases. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  14. "George Fox University in Newberg grows to 3,700 students". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  15. "Housing Dispute Puts Quaker University at Front of Fight Over Transgender Issues". Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  16. "George Fox University hosts dedication ceremony for new residence hall Aug. 26". Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  17. "Richter Scholars Program". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  18. "Center for Study Abroad". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  19. "Council for Christian Colleges & Universities - Beyond the Classroom: How service learning works in BestSemester programs". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  20. "Bruin Mascot". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  21. "NCAA Division 3 University in Oregon - George Fox University Athletics - George Fox Athletics". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  22. "Baseball - Bruins' 2004 NCAA Title Named One of "50 Greatest Moments in Northwest Sports History" - News Releases". News Releases. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  23. "George Fox (Ore.) goes undefeated, takes home D-III women's title". USA Today. 2009-03-21. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
  24. "Undefeated George Fox Women Win NCAA Basketball Title". 2009-03-21. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
  25. "A Season to Remember". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  26. "Forty Minutes From Perfection". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  27. "Return of a tradition: Football kicks off in 2014". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  28. "Chris Casey - Football Coach - George Fox Athletics". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  29. "Quick Facts". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  30. "George Fox University Chapel » What Is Chapel?". Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  31. "Service in the community - Christian faith in action - George Fox University". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  32. "About". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  33. "Quick Facts". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  34. Official website of the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends
  35. Offices and Services: Center for Peace and Justice from George Fox University
  36. "Oregon National Register List" (PDF). State of Oregon. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
  37. Historic Campus Architecture Project: Minthorn Hall. The Council of Independent Colleges. Retrieved on October 1, 2008.
  38. Historic Campus Architecture Project: Jesse Edwards House (President's House). The Council of Independent Colleges. Retrieved on October 1, 2008.
  39. "Interactive Map". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  40. "America's Best Colleges". Forbes. 2009-08-05.
  41. "George Fox University". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  42. "George Fox a national leader in study abroad participation - News Releases". News Releases. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  43. "Rankings". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  44. "About the Coach - Bio". Retrieved 9 April 2018.

Further reading

  • Ralph Beebe, A Heritage to Honor, A Future to Fulfill: George Fox College, 1891-1991. Newberg, OR: Barclay Press, 1991.
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