“Walla Walla College stirred to life well before dawn on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 1892,” wrote Terrie Dopp Aamodt in her book Bold Venture: A History of Walla Walla College. The school was primarily a residential campus then as it is today. The Administration Building — the only building on campus at the time — housed classrooms, kitchen, dining hall and worship facilities and was home to nearly all faculty and students.
On that first day of classes in 1892, after a layer of snow had accumulated on the ground overnight, work was still underway to install the heating system in the building, the only stove in the kitchen wasn’t working, and the sound of hammers blended with preparations for classes. Yet, with faith and true pioneer spirit, a small group of students, administrators, faculty and staff gathered to sing “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow.”*
The growth of a close-knit community was nearly inevitable in those compact quarters situated on the isolated, open grassland of the Walla Walla Valley. This month, as Walla Walla University (WWU) begins a year-long celebration marking the 125th anniversary since its founding, that same sense of community is just one of God’s many outpoured blessings we give thanks for and celebrate.
It was no doubt with hope and longing for the soon return of Christ those vanguards built and worked and studied. Now, 125 years later, we build on the foundation they laid as we work and yearn for Jesus’ return in ways they couldn’t have imagined. The following portrait of a day on the campus of WWU commemorates their legacy as we look to the future with hope.