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GU History: 1990-1999

A guide to the history of Gonzaga University


For two weeks in July 1990, Gonzaga campus was the site of the Goodwill Games Athlete’s Village.  About 250 athletes from 21 countries were housed in Catherine/Monica.  Spokane hosted women’s volleyball, rhythmic gymnastics, and weightlifting.  The international village was to remain the athletes’ sanctuary; nobody except for athletes and workers were allowed in the village.  In all, 21 events were staged in seven Washington cities, including Spokane and Seattle.


Gonzaga Crew, about 1986

Gonzaga began competing for the first time in rowing as an intercollegiate sport in 1990.  Previously, Fr. Mike Siconolfi got crew started in 1983, when it was only a club sport.  Excellent skills, coaching, and financial support from Claire and Bob McDonald led to Gonzaga’s success in the sport.  Today, both the men’s and women’s crew teams compete nationally. 

 Foley Center
Foley Center, 1992

By the beginning of the 1990s, another new library was needed to accommodate the growing number of students (undergraduate enrollment in the fall of 1990 was 4,176) and the new technology and information resources. During planning and construction, the building was called Center for Information Technology Transfer (C.I.T.T).  However, it was officially named for Senator Tom Foley’s parents.  The Ralph E. and Helen Higgins Foley Center was dedicated in September 1992.  This 137,000 square foot facility cost $20 million.  Almost half of the money came from federal funds for the “library of the future.” The following fall the former library was converted to the Crosby Student Center. 

 Rosauer Center
 Rosauer Center, 1994

Named after donors Jessie and Mert Rosauer, in April 1994, the Rosauer Center opened to house Gonzaga’s School of Education.  This 34,800 square foot facility cost $4.3 million to build and equip. The building included faculty offices, technologically equipped classrooms, general purpose classrooms, seminar rooms, training rooms, computer labs, a media instruction room and counseling clinic.

Founded in 1994 to help at risk students, Campus Kids is an after school campus-based mentoring program focused on helping children grades 4th -6th succeed in academics and relationship building. The Center for Community Action and Service Learning (CCASL) oversees Campus Kids. Held from 3:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday, the program has students and their GU mentors engage in a variety of activities, working on homework and educational games together, and sharing a healthy snack. Mentors visit their mentees at school once a week and participate in monthly Saturday activities

 women's golf
Women’s golf team, 1997

Gonzaga formed its first women’s golf team in 1993.  At first there was limited funding and support for the team.  They would lose tournaments by as many as 200 strokes.  Travel destinations included Cheney, Moscow and Missoula.  Four years later, with increased funding and player commitment, the women’s golf team, a member of the WCC, became more competitive and played at courses in Arizona, Utah, and California.

 John Rillie helped lead Gonzaga
  to its first NCAA tournament, 1995

During the 1993-1994 Bulldog basketball seasons, both the men’s and women’s teams achieved success.  The men’s team captured its first West Coast Conference title.  The women’s team also won more games than ever (21).  Both teams for the first time appeared in Division 1 postseason play by earning trips to the national invitational tournaments.  The following year, the men’s Bulldog team competed in its first NCAA tournament after winning the WCC tournament.  The men’s team would continue to make annual post season appearances.  In 1999, Gonzaga appeared in its first NCAA Elite Eight game.  In more recent years the Lady Bulldogs have had success in making it to post season play. 

 Jundt Center
Jundt Art Center and
Museum, 1995

The Jundt Art Center and Museum was dedicated on October 27, 1995.  James and Joann Jundt provided the lead gift to fund its construction.  With its copper roof and steeple, the 47,000 square foot building offered seven spacious studios for 300 art students, lecture hall, offices, and patio kiln yard.  Its three exhibition areas made it the largest and most sophisticated art gallery in the Inland Northwest.  Duff and Dorothy Kennedy donated a Dale Chihuly chandelier, which measured 2000 pounds and contained 800 pieces of glass.

 Student using his computer in his room, 2002

ZagNet debuted in the fall of 1997.  More than 1,300 students living on campus would be able to surf the Internet from their own rooms.  They were also able to access the Foley Center Library, campus computing resources, electronic mail, and other internet services.  A help desk was established to support students.  Additionally, Gonzaga provided a server for students’ World Wide Web pages, added labs, and network connections at various campus locations. 
The same year, to combat hate through research, education, and advocacy, Gonzaga University Institute for Action Against Hate was founded.  For three consecutive years beginning in 1995, African American students in the School of Law were the targets of racist mail and phone calls.  The Law School and Gonzaga’s Committee on Racial Equality and Cultural Understanding developed the Institute whose primary goal was to focus multi-disciplinary academic resources on the causes and effects of hate and find potential strategies for combating hate.

 Fall Family Weekend
Fall Family Weekend, 1999


In 1997, Parents’ Weekend was renewed and shifted to the fall instead of the spring.  It was redubbed as Fall Family Weekend.  With this new weekend event, the academic side of Gonzaga was emphasized.  Parents were invited to accompany their student to class, attend an opening reception, watch a play, and/or view sporting events.  In 2006, over 3,000 people including the students participated in the Fall Family Weekend. 

 Father Spitzer
President Robert J.
Spitzer, S.J., 1998

On September 17, 1998, Fr. Robert J. Spitzer became the 25th President at Gonzaga replacing the short tenure of Fr. Glynn.  Prior to Fr. Spitzer’s arrival, Harry Sladich was the acting president.  Fr. Spitzer’s appointment came at a time when the school needed a leader to continue its reputation for excellence.  President Spitzer, a 1974 graduate of Gonzaga, said his primary purpose would be to help Gonzaga enhance its profound mission toward its students and the Inland Northwest.

The Center for Community Action and Service-Learning (CCASL) started the Mission:Possible in 1999. This program has groups of 10 - 20 students travel up to 10 sites around the country and serve local communities during the university's spring break. Each site is coordinated by a student leader and at least one University Advisor.

(All photos unless noted differently are from the Gonzaga University Archives.)

Stephanie Plowman, Special Collections Librarian
Updated March 2015

Image Use Policy

Use of the image requires written permission from University Archives and Special Collections. It may not be sold or redistributed as a photograph, electronic file,or any other media. The user is responsible for all issues of copyright.
Please credit: University Archives and Special Collections, Gonzaga University. 

For more information, please contact Stephanie Plowman, Special Collections Librarian,