Skip to main content

The University of Washington’s 150th Anniversary

Asa Shinn Mercer, UW's first president

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the University of Washington, established as the Territorial University of Washington in 1861, only 10 years after Seattle was settled and 18 years before Washington became a state.

UW’s founder and first president, Asa Shinn Mercer, blazed the trail for a proud record of UW entrepreneurship and public service (not to mention hair style):  he left his post after only two years, heading east to Massachusetts in 1863 and again in 1865 to recruit more than 100 young women – “The Mercer Girls” – to move to Seattle, funded by donations from eager men.  In recognition of this contribution to civic life, he was elected to the Territorial Legislature.

Learn more here.

October 8, 2011