A bear born before George Fox University existed inspired the university’s use of "Bruins" as a sports nickname and its oldest student tradition. In 1887, a student at Friends Pacific Academy brought to campus a black bear cub found in the coast range. The cub lived in a pit in Hess Creek Canyon. After it died in 1892, the bearskin became an unofficial mascot, traveling with the senior class on outings. Senior classes traditionally passed “Bruin” down to the juniors, but in 1898 the junior class swiped the skin early. Students have wrestled for possession of the bearskin and numerous canvas replicas, called “Bruin Junior,” ever since in competitions known as "Bruin Brawls."
Pacific College opens its doors with 15 students.
The first graduating class
Evangeline Martin and Amanda Woodward celebrate the $30,000 raised for a new college building. Wood-Mar Hall was completed in 1911.
The Bruins win the Willamette Valley League basketball championship in a season that included a 34-25 win against Oregon State Agricultural College (Oregon State University).
The school's name is changed to George Fox College.
The Northwest Association of Secondary and Higher Schools grants accreditation.
The first Raft Race down the Willamette River begins an on-and-off George Fox tradition. Using oars and “anything that floats,” students race the three-mile course from Roger’s Landing in Newberg to Champoeg Park. The 1981 race draws 22 entries and more than 100 student sailors. The fastest recorded time is 65 minutes, set in 1971. The most unique craft might have been the air-filled waterbed that captured the 1976 race.
George Fox is the first in the Northwest to offer a degree-completion program for working adults. Degree-completion classes are offered in Portland.
The Juniors Abroad overseas study program starts. Excursions have reached every continent except Antarctica. It's also the first year U.S. News & World Report ranks George Fox as one of “America’s Best Colleges.”
The Templeton Foundation includes George Fox on its nationwide Honor Roll of Character Building Colleges.
George Fox begins offering graduate programs, acquiring the doctor of psychology program from Western Seminary.
George Fox celebrates its 100th birthday in a yearlong celebration that ends Sept. 9. Centennial Tower donor Esther Klages was part of the ceremonies. In addition, the Computers Across the Curriculum program starts, providing a Macintosh Classic to each student. The program, which later provided laptops to incoming undergraduate students, remained in place through the 2010-11 academic year.
George Fox College merges with Western Evangelical Seminary and the name changes again – to George Fox University. Former U.S. senator Mark Hatfield joins the faculty to teach history and political science.
The campus closes for a day as all staff and students head into the community for volunteer service projects on the university’s inaugural Serve Day.
Carnegie Foundation’s Oregon Professor of the Year award is given to biology professor Dwight Kimberly.
The Salem Site opens. Meanwhile, Newberg business owners Ken and Joan Austin announce plans to donate 24 acres of undeveloped land for future outdoor athletic fields.
The Bruins win the NCAA Division III national baseball championship.
George Fox purchases the Newberg Providence Hospital and its eight acres of property for academic use.
U.S. News & World Report ranks George Fox in its "Best National Universities" category for the first time.
Bruins win an NCAA Division III national women's basketball championship.
Record undergraduate applications cause the university to create a wait list and raise admission requirements. The Austin Sports Complex opens with a synthetic turf soccer/lacrosse field. In rankings news, Forbes ranks George Fox among its top-100 "America's Best Colleges," highest among Christian colleges in the nation.
The first cadre of Act Six students graduate. The leadership and scholarship program provides full scholarships to selected urban leaders in the Portland area. Marilyn and John Duke donate $2.5 million to the university – one of the largest gifts in school history – to fund the Duke Athletic Center, part of the new Stoffer Family Stadium complex on campus.
The university receives a first-tier regional ranking and "Best Value" listing from U.S. News & World Report, while also receiving recognition from Kiplinger'sForbes and Princeton Review. It also marks the first year George Fox begins offering a three-year doctor of physical therapy degree, becoming only the second school in the state to do so.
George Fox breaks ground on Stoffer Family Stadium. The facility is constructed to accommodate track and field and the revived football program.

Construction of the new Stoffer Family Stadium, which includes the synthetic-turf Lemmons Family Field and the 14,000-square-foot Duke Athletic Center, is completed. In the fall, the school welcomes the return of football after a 46-year hiatus from the sport.


Construction is completed on a new residence hall, Brandt Hall, named for former President David Brandt and his wife Melva. The university also completes a 220-foot bridge that spans Hess Creek Canyon to better connect the new buildings on the east side of campus to the west.


Construction of a new dining hall in Hess Creek Canyon, Canyon Commons, is completed in time for a fall 2016 opening. The 30,000-square-foot facility replaces Klages Dining Hall as the primary food service venue.

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