Northwest Nazarene University
Seal of Northwest Nazarene University
Former names
Northwest Nazarene College (1917–1999)
Northwest Holiness College (1916–1917)
Idaho Holiness School
MottoSeek Ye First
the Kingdom of God
TypePrivate university
Established1913; 109 years ago (1913)
1937; four-year
Religious affiliation
Academic affiliations
Endowment$40 million
PresidentJoel Pearsall
Location, ,
United States

43°33′43″N 116°33′54″W / 43.562°N 116.565°W / 43.562; -116.565Coordinates: 43°33′43″N 116°33′54″W / 43.562°N 116.565°W / 43.562; -116.565
Colors   Red and black
AthleticsNCAA Division II (GNAC)

Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) is a private Christian university in Nampa, Idaho.


Fred J. Shields 1917–1919
1. H. Orton Wiley 1919–1926
2. Joseph G. Morrison 1926–1927
3. Russell V. DeLong 1927–1932
4. R. Eugene Gilmore 1932–1935
5. Russell V. DeLong 1935–1942
6. L.T. Corlett 1942–1952
7. John E. Riley 1952–1973
8. Kenneth H. Pearsall 1973–1983
9. A. Gordon Wetmore 1983–1992
10. Leon Doane 1992–1993
11. Richard A. Hagood 1993–2008
12. David Alexander 2008–2015
13. Joel Pearsall 2016–present

Eugene Emerson organized a combination grade school and Bible school in 1913 as Idaho Holiness School.[1][2] It was renamed twice in 1916, first to Northwest Holiness College and then to Northwest Nazarene College,[3] and then became a liberal arts college in 1917 with degree-granting authority from the Idaho state Board of Education. While the college's first president, elected in 1916, was H. Orton Wiley of Pasadena University, Fred J. Shields filled in as acting president before leaving for the Eastern Nazarene College in 1919, while Wiley finished his graduate work.[4]

Under Russell V. DeLong, Northwest Nazarene College (NNC) received educational accreditation[5] as a two-year school in 1931[6] and as a four-year school in 1937,[6] making it the first accredited college affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene.[7] Under Presidents John E. Riley and Kenneth H. Pearsall in the 1960s and 1970s, master's degree programs were added.[8][9] It was renamed Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) in 1999.

Northwest Nazarene University was granted an exception to Title IX in 2014 which allows it to legally discriminate against LGBT students for religious reasons.[10]


Nampa is located in the United States
Location in the United States
Nampa is located in Idaho
Location in Idaho

As one of eight U.S. liberal arts colleges[11] affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene,[12] the college receives financial backing from the Nazarene churches on its region; part of each church budget is paid into a fund for its regional school. Each college is also bound by a gentlemen's agreement not to actively recruit outside its respective educational region.[13]

NNU is the college for the Northwest Region of the United States, which comprises the Alaska, Washington Pacific, Oregon Pacific, Northwest, Intermountain, Rocky Mountain, and Colorado districts, which include Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Alaska, and parts of Nevada and Utah.[14] NNU is also a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).[15] NNU has been accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) since 1930, making it the first Nazarene school to achieve an accredited status.[5]


Northwest Nazarene University has two colleges: the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Adult and Graduate Studies. NNU offers over 60 baccalaureate degree programs, 11 master's degree programs, a Ph.D. degree program, and a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in clinical psychology.[16] In addition to its 90-acre (36 ha) campus in Nampa, ID, the university offers extensive online degree programs and has branch campuses in Boise, Twin Falls, and Idaho Falls.

Founded in 1913, the university now serves over 1300 undergraduate and 700 graduate students, more than 6000 online and continuing education students, and high school concurrent credit students. NNU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Student life

NNU is a co-educational college according to InsideHigherEd and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities[17][10]


Main article: Northwest Nazarene Nighthawks

Since 2001, NNU has competed at the NCAA Division II level in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and fields teams in eight sports: basketball, baseball, cross country running, golf, softball, soccer, track and field, and volleyball.[18] Along with Eastern Nazarene College, Point Loma Nazarene University, Southern Nazarene University, and Trevecca Nazarene University, it is one of five Nazarene colleges to compete in the NCAA; the other three compete in the NAIA. NNU's athletic moniker is the "Nighthawks" (as of October 16, 2017; the nickname was previously the Crusaders) and colors are red, white, black and gray.


The school's longtime rival is the College of Idaho in nearby Caldwell. Students from both schools have participated in various activities during rivalry basketball games. NNU students wore insulting t-shirts provided by the Student Government Association, with phrases including: "C of I doesn't know raisins are grapes" and "C of I failed swim lessons". Both schools' student sections have been cited for excessive noise and chanting. College of Idaho's student section creatively chanted "F*** you, NNU" which resulted in complaints.

Campus Events

NNU has a wide variety of school events that restarted following the slow the decline in COVID cases in the surrounding Treasure Valley. Notable favorites include Mr. NNU, Black Tie, TWIRP, Week One, Humans Versus Zombies, Rootbeer Fest, and Fresheree.

Week One

The entire first week of Fall semester is dedicated to nightly events for the whole campus. "Rollerscamming" involves going to a local rollerdrome and having themed costume contests, races, and lots of other fun for a night. Rootbeer Fest is a large party on the Quad with a movie and rootbeer floats. The floats are served in a new mug design every year, and you can keep it afterward.


The Woman Is Required to Pay is held later in Fall Semester, usually right around Halloween. Ladies ask guys to the event (or you can go with friends), and buy the tickets. It's held over two consecutive evenings evenings, and involves costumes and a variety of activities. Past activities have included movies, horror houses, scavenger hunts, corn mazes, Wahooz, and many more.


Notable gentleman from the student body are nominated to compete for the beloved title of "Mr. NNU". Two students from each year perform group and individual skits, and the funniest man wins. This has involved writing Mad Lib songs, cowbells, singing "Am I Man or Am I a Mullet", giving someone a mullet, proposing to a random girl in the audience with a ringpop, drinking a blender of random foods, a trial by way of the hangman game, singing that breaks the Geneva Convention, and many more equally traumatizing acts.


Hosted and organized by the Sophomore class every fall, this event is a comedic talent show in which anyone can perform. Students, staff, and faculty have all participated in the event.

Black Tie

The most formal of events hosted by the school, Black Tie is the yearly formal. It's held in the spring towards the end of Easter, and is a great excuse to get dressed up, hang out with friends, eat food, dance, and take pictures.

Humans Vs Zombies

A campus-wide, competitive game of tag to be the last surviving humans. A certain number of zombies start the game, wearing red headbands to indicate their status. Humans wear white armbands, and do their best to avoid getting tagged and turned into zombies. Humans arm themselves with sock weapons and Nerf guns to protect themselves. Only the strongest survive.

LGBTQ students

NNU is ranked among the "Absolute Worst Campuses for LGBTQ Youth" in the US by Campus Pride.[10] The Church of the Nazarene Manual 2017–2021[a] states that "we believe the practice of same-sex sexual intimacy is contrary to God’s will for human sexuality".[19] The university's Notice of Non-discrimination states that "The University maintains the right, with regard to its lifestyle covenant, employment, and other matters, to uphold and apply its religious beliefs related to, among other issues, marriage, sex (gender), gender identity, sexual orientation, and sexual activity."[20] This stance does not have full support from faculty, staff, or the student body, and remains a debated point of contention across the school.

Notable people

Notable graduates include Lori Otter First Lady of the State of Idaho. Kent R. Hill, the former administrator for USAID's Bureau for Global Health and former president of the Eastern Nazarene College (1992-2001), Richard Hieb, NASA astronaut, author Donna Fletcher Crow, and Michael Lodahl and Thomas Jay Oord, noted Nazarene theologians. A notable non-graduate alumna is Mildred Bangs Wynkoop, another noted Nazarene theologian. Notable former faculty members include Fred J. Shields, H. Orton Wiley, and Olive Winchester.


  1. ^ The online manual website indicates that "The provisions of the current Manual remain effective until modified by the 30th General Assembly, scheduled to convene in June of 2023, and a new version is announced by the Board of General Superintendents."


  1. ^ Riley, John E. From Sagebrush to Ivy: The story of Northwest Nazarene College. Pacific Press, Nampa, Idaho, 1988.
  2. ^ Ingersol, Stan. "Why These Schools? Historical Perspectives on Nazarene Higher Education" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-06-24. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
  3. ^ Raser, Harold E. (1996). "Church of the Nazarene Universities, Colleges, and Religious Seminaries". In Thomas C. Hunt; James C. Carper (eds.). Religious Higher Education in the United States. Taylor & Francis. p. 549. ISBN 0-8153-1636-4.
  4. ^ Cameron, James R. (1968). Eastern Nazarene College—The First Fifty Years, 1900-1950. Kansas City: Nazarene Publishing House. pp. 127, 142–143.
  5. ^ a b "NWCCU: Idaho schools". Archived from the original on 2008-07-03. Retrieved 2008-04-28.
  6. ^ a b NNU Administrative Policy Manual
  7. ^ The next Nazarene college to be accredited was Eastern Nazarene, accredited by NEASC in 1943. Northwest had the authority to grant degrees from the State of Idaho before 1930, but ENC did not have the authority to grant degrees in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts until 1930. Before 1930, ENC students actually received degrees from NNU. See James R. Cameron, Eastern Nazarene College—The First Fifty Years, 1900-1950, Nazarene Publishing House (1968), 163.
  8. ^ "NNU History". Archived from the original on 2007-06-08. Retrieved 2007-06-20.
  9. ^ Fall 2008 President's Dinner at NNU Archived 2009-08-09 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ a b c "Worst List: The Absolute Worst Campuses for LGBTQ Youth". Campus Pride. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  11. ^ J. Matthew, Price. "Liberal Arts and the Priorities of Nazarene Higher Education" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-06-27. Retrieved 2008-07-10. Nazarene higher education is based on the liberal arts model. Eastern Nazarene is the only Nazarene institution to retain the "college" moniker, although no Nazarene school fits the standard national definition Archived 2008-05-16 at the Wayback Machine of a "research university".
  12. ^ "Nazarene Educational Regions" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-06-24. Retrieved 2008-07-10. See Church of the Nazarene: Organization for more information on regions.
  13. ^ Guidelines and Handbook for Educational Institutions of the Church of the Nazarene (PDF). Church of the Nazarene International Board of Education. 1997. p. 14. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-10-10.
  14. ^ "Northwest Educational Region" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-09-11. Retrieved 2008-07-10. ENC and NNU are the only Nazarene schools to remain true to their regional names.
  15. ^ "CCCU Members". Archived from the original on 2008-07-05. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
  16. ^ "Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology". Retrieved 2022-04-23.
  17. ^ "Christian Colleges Grow More Diverse". August 15, 2008.
  18. ^ NNU Sports
  19. ^ Church of the Nazarene Manual 2017–2021, Dean G. Blevins, Stanley J. Rodes, Terry S. Sowden, James W. Spear, David P. Wilson (eds.), Kansas City, MO: Nazarene Publishing House (2017): para. 31.
  20. ^ "Notice of Non-discrimination - Northwest Nazarene University". Retrieved 2022-04-23.