Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Tuesday, September 24, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 51° Cloudy
News >  Spokane

As hub for higher ed, Spokane is moving to the head of the class

The University District, also known as the Riverpoint Campus, includes the WSU medical school and classes from WSU, Eastern, Gonzaga and Whitworth. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
The University District, also known as the Riverpoint Campus, includes the WSU medical school and classes from WSU, Eastern, Gonzaga and Whitworth. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

As the largest city in Eastern Washington, Spokane is a hub for higher education. Schools from across the state have operations here, and the city is steadily becoming a center of medical and technological research. Here’s a look at colleges and universities that work in and around Spokane:

Gonzaga University

Gonzaga is the school many people first consider when they think about Spokane, probably because of its basketball team, which nearly won this year’s NCAA Division I championship.

Founded in 1887 by Father Joseph Cataldo, an Italian-born missionary, Gonzaga serves nearly 7,600 students and still has strong connections to its Jesuit roots. The university offers all levels of baccalaureate degrees and has a highly ranked law school. Additionally, Gonzaga has partnered with the University of Washington to run a medical school in Spokane.

Gonzaga’s 152-acre campus has more than 100 buildings, including the three-story, $60 million Hemmingson Center, which was completed in 2015 and serves as a central gathering place. Students live on campus and in the surrounding Logan neighborhood.

Washington State University

WSU was established in 1980 as a land-grant university with a focus on agricultural research. It now offers a wide range of degrees and serves nearly 30,000 students at its main campus in Pullman and its branch campuses in Spokane, Vancouver, Everett and the Tri-Cities.

The Spokane campus, part of the Riverpoint campus near downtown, is devoted to health sciences, and the school’s presence in the city has grown in recent years.

In addition to its nursing and pharmacy colleges, WSU Spokane recently opened a medical school named after late university president Elson Floyd. Like the Gonzaga-UW medical school, it aims to address a shortage of doctors in the region. WSU also helps operate a teaching clinic for medical residents on the Riverpoint campus.

Eastern Washington University

This state school is based in Cheney, about 17 miles southwest of Spokane. It serves more than 12,000 students and boasts affordability and high rates of minority enrollment.

Established in 1882, EWU says it offers more than 100 fields of undergraduate study, plus nine master’s degrees, one applied doctorate, one educational specialist degree and 11 graduate certificates.

Alongside WSU’s health sciences programs, EWU faculty teach occupational and physical therapy at the Riverpoint campus.

Whitworth University

Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. Founded in 1890, the school boasts a high four-year graduation rate and says that 87 percent of its classes have fewer than 30 students.

The 200-acre campus is just north of Spokane’s city limits, and the school says it has invested more than $110 million in campus improvements in recent years, including a dining hall expansion, a recreation center, a science hall, a visual arts center, three residence halls and an intramural sports field.

Whitworth offers a range of undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees in education, counseling and theology, and master’s degrees in teaching, athletic training and business administration. Like Gonzaga, WSU and EWU, Whitworth also has a location on the Riverpoint campus.

Community Colleges of Spokane

Two of Washington’s 34 community and technical colleges are in Spokane. They operate under the same district, Community Colleges of Spokane, and together serve nearly 31,000 students, including those pursuing degrees or certificates and those taking classes just to bolster their skills, according to data for the 2015-16 school year.

The colleges also aim for accessibility. This year, annual tuition and mandatory fees for Washington residents total $4,293 to $4,683. About 82 percent of students who earn degrees or certificates are employed within nine months of graduation.

Spokane Community College was founded in 1963 and serves nearly 12,000 award-seeking students. In addition to its main campus in the Chief Garry Park neighborhood, on the east side of the city, SCC runs extended learning centers in five rural counties in Eastern Washington. Its top five degrees are automotive technology, criminal justice, business, diesel and heavy equipment maintenance, and electrical maintenance and automation.

Spokane Falls Community College, established in 1967, is based in the West Hills neighborhood and serves nearly 8,000 award-seeking students. Its top five degrees are social services, information technology, physical therapist assistant, audio engineering and photography. SFCC also operates a learning center in Pullman that helps students prepare to transfer to Washington State University and other schools.

Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email