The skin of the George Fox's original bruin; students celebrate May Day1887
A bear born before George Fox University existed lives today in the university’s Bruins sports nickname and in 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 the bear 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 Jr.” ever since in competitions known as "Bruin brawls."

Pacific College opens its doors with 15 students.

The first graduating class

For decades, George Fox students celebrated the coming of spring with May Day festivals. Dressed in old English and modern costumes, students crowned a May Day court, wound the Maypole, and performed folk dances and drills.

Evangeline Martin and Amanda Woodward celebrate the $30,000 raised for a new college building. Wood-Mar Hall was completed in 1911.

The Bruins won the Willamette Valley League basketball championship in a season that included a 34-25 win against Oregon State Agricultural College (Oregon State University).

Name changed to George Fox College.

George Fox's Raft Race down the Willamette River1959
Northwest Association of Secondary and Higher Schools grants accreditation.

The Raft Race down the Willamette River has been an on-and-off George Fox tradition for students and staff since 1969. Using oars and “anything that floats,” students race down the three-mile course from Roger’s Landing in Newberg to Champoeg Park. The 1981 race drew 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 first in the Northwest to offer degree-completion program for working adults.

Degree-completion classes offered in Portland.


Juniors Abroad overseas study program starts. Excursions have reached every continent except Antarctica.

U.S. News & World Report ranks George Fox as one of “America’s Best Colleges” for the first time.

Templeton Foundation includes George Fox on its nationwide Honor Roll of Character Building Colleges.

The Mactintosh Classic - the first computer offered to each student through the Computer's Across Curriculum program1990
George Fox begins offering graduate programs, acquiring the doctor of psychology program from Western Seminary.

George Fox celebrated its 100th birthday in a year-long celebration ending Sept. 9. Centennial Tower donor Esther Klages was part of the ceremonies.

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; name change to George Fox University.

Former U.S. senator Mark Hatfiled; 2004 NCAA Division III national baseball champs, the George Fox BruinsFormer U.S. senator Mark Hatfield joins 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 first annual Serve Day.

Carnegie Foundation’s Oregon Professor of the Year award given to Dwight Kimberly, biology.

Salem Site opens.

Newberg business owners Ken and Joan Austin announce plans to donate 24 acres of undeveloped land for future outdoor athletics fields.

Bruins win 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 NCAA Division III national women's basketball championship.

Record undergraduate applications causes university to create wait list and raise admission requirements.
Austin Sports Complex opens with synthetic turf soccer/lacrosse field.

Forbes Top 100 America’ Best Colleges

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 being constructed 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's, Forbes and Princeton Review.

George Fox begins offering a three-year doctor of physical therapy degree, becoming only the second school in the state to do so.

2013 Groundbreaking2013
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 continues in preparation for a fall 2016 opening. The 30,000-square-foot facility replaces Klages Dining Hall as the primary food service venue.