History of Antioch Seattle
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) got its start in true Antioch tradition as an experiment by Antioch College West, located in San Francisco, California. Inspired by the University Without Walls movement of the late ‘60’s, AUS was one of over 35 satellite Antioch College locations created to bring education to non-traditional students where they lived, which in Seattle’s case is the city.
The experiment to discover if a new location could succeed in Seattle began in the Fremont neighborhood, the Center of the Universe, in 1975 with 15 students, three programs, and a vision that slowly grew into the thriving community it is today. It was based on the belief real change in the wider community comes from deeper understandings of how communities function and of the people who inhabit them. So we began our offerings with Bachelor’s Completion, Psychology, and Urban Studies.
After two years of sustained growth, AUS was officially made a Regional Center on July 1, 1977. The next year we moved into a mansion on Capitol Hill to house our expanding curriculum and student body, which reached 231 that year.
AUS actively lives our 165-year old values of social and environmental justice, and throughout our time we contribute heavily to the Seattle community and beyond. In 2002, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded us a $3 million grant to create early college high schools for Native American students. And in 2004 AUS received a second grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for $6.1 million to create an additional 10 early college high schools across the nation to serve Native American youth. We started 13 schools in all across the country.
AUS requires our students to get involved with the Seattle community through volunteerism, internships, and various projects. Many students, however, go beyond our requirements and with our support, start new projects that give back to Seattle, the country, and the world.
By 2005 our student body reached 1,339 and was the largest in AUS history, making it the biggest campus within the Antioch University system. We kept growing, and our experimental curriculum and inclusive values set us apart from our competition. We invited speakers like Ursula K. LeGuin and other authors of note to give workshops at our campus, which were open to the public, providing Seattle with new opportunities to connect with learned minds.
Besides community service, inclusion and forward thinking is also in our DNA, and in July 2007, Dr. Cassandra Manuelito-Kerkvliet became the first Native American woman to ascend to the presidency of an accredited university outside the tribal college system.
Seattle has welcomed our brand of radical thinking and community involvement, and AUS has embraced all that is Seattle. An experiment that began 40 years ago in the Center of the Universe proved itself successful time and again. We’ve moved five times in 40 years, but always we’ve stayed accessible to our students.
Today, we’ve relocated to a technologically advanced space embodying our values of sustainability, collaboration, and commitment to positive change. We’ve reaffirmed our original commitment to the Seattle community to stay where we’re needed most-in the heart of the city. We’re here to stay. Join us.