|Idaho Holiness School (1913-1916), Northwest Holiness College (1916-1917), Northwest Nazarene College (1917-1999)|
|Motto||Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God|
|Colors||Red and black|
|Sports||Baseball, Basketball, Cross-Country, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball|
|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|
|7.||John E. Riley||1952-1973|
|8.||Kenneth H. Pearsall||1973-1983|
|9.||A. Gordon Wetmore||1983-1992|
|11.||Richard A. Hagood||1993-2008|
Eugene Emerson organized a combination grade school and Bible school in 1913 as Idaho Holiness School. It was renamed twice in 1916, first to Northwest Holiness College and then to Northwest Nazarene College, and then became a liberal arts college in 1917 with degree-granting authority from the Idaho state Board of Education. While the first president elected for the college in 1916 was H. Orton Wiley of Pasadena University, Fred J. Shields would fill in as acting president before leaving for the Eastern Nazarene College in 1919, while Wiley finished his graduate work. Under Russell V. DeLong, Northwest Nazarene College (NNC) received educational accreditation, as a two-year school in 1931 and then received accreditation as a four-year school in 1937, making it the first accredited college affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene. Under Presidents John E. Riley and Kenneth H. Pearsall in the 1960s and 1970s, master's degree programs were added. It was renamed as Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) in 1999.
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.
As one of eight U.S. liberal arts colleges affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene, 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. 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. NNU is also a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). 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.
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, and a Ph.D. degree program. In addition to its 90-acre campus located in Nampa, Idaho, 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 2300 high school concurrent credit students. NNU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and has been consistently rated by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top masters-level universities in the west as well as by the Princeton Review's "Book of The Best Western Colleges."
NNU is a co-educational college. According to InsideHigherEd and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, black student enrollment at NNU is one percent or less of the entire student population.
NNU participates in the NCAA's Great Northwest Athletic Conference at the NCAA Division II level in 8 sports: basketball, baseball, cross country running, golf, softball, soccer, track and field, and volleyball. NNU added tennis as a club team in the Fall of 2013. Along with the Eastern Nazarene College, it is one of only two Nazarene colleges to compete in the NCAA; the other six compete in the NAIA. NNU's athletic moniker is the "Nighthawks" (as of October 16, 2017; the nickname was previously the Crusader) and colors are red and black. The school's main rival is NAIA College of Idaho, located a short distance to the west in Caldwell, Idaho.
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. Oord is current faculty at his alma mater. 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.