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Mission & History

Mission & Milestones

From Vision to Impact

Did you know that your very existence is a great gift brought forth by divine love and wisdom? You are here to make the most of that gift. And Northwest Nazarene University exists to help you do that. We’re built on a vision to provide the best education that’s much more than education alone.

We call it transformation—intellectual, social, physical and spiritual. We seek to be a place where you discover who you are in Christ and what your potential for impact is. Where you’re transformed for good and you, in turn, transform the Church and the world.

NNU Learning Commons

Our Mission

The mission of Northwest Nazarene University is the transformation of the whole person. Centered in Jesus Christ, the NNU education instills habits of heart, soul, mind and strength to enable each student to become God’s creative and redemptive agent in the world.

Founded in 1913, NNU is a Christian university of the liberal arts, professional programs and graduate studies. The University is grounded in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition and is in partnership with the Church of the Nazarene, which emphasizes the biblical doctrines of perfect love and Christian holiness.

student receiving diploma
students worshipping with arms raised

Our Vision

Northwest Nazarene University strives to be a vibrant educational community that integrates and reflects Christian faith in all that it does. The University seeks to provide nationally-recognized programs distinguished by graduates who are academically prepared, spiritually grounded, service-minded, globally engaged and vocationally successful.

NNU Values


We believe education fosters transformation. NNU engages and affects all domains of life—intellectual, social, physical and spiritual—thereby advancing the transformation of the individual, the Church and the world.


We believe education pursues truth. NNU explores knowledge, the wonder of God’s creative activity, the story of human civilization and the achievements in the arts, sciences and professions. Ultimately, we believe Jesus is the Truth Incarnate; therefore, we pursue Christ.


We believe education flourishes in community. NNU provides a learning and faith community that teaches, challenges and encourages each other through intellectual and spiritual practices. Within covenantal relationships, we express our love for God and others.


We believe education cultivates service. NNU teaches the importance of a life of servanthood as modeled by Jesus Christ. We learn to lead by giving of ourselves to God and humankind.

Our Faith

Our faith fuels a strong belief that you have a God-given purpose that has the power to transform people, communities and the world. Driven by that transformative purpose, God is writing an exciting story for your life, for all of our lives. We invite you to discover your story as we pursue truth together through campus-wide worship, student-led Bible studies, local and international service and more.

NNU History

On September 13, 1913, classes began at Idaho Holiness School in the Mennonite church on the corner of 13th Avenue and 8th Street in Nampa, Idaho. The school was later renamed Northwest Nazarene College. In 1915, leaders gathered to break ground for the first building on campus.

In the years since, the college-turned-university has impacted thousands of lives as we have encouraged students to rise and shine; answer the call; live, learn and lead. Students have always been the reason we’re here, and it’s as true today as it was on that bright September morning more than a hundred years ago.

NNU History