Founded on December 11, 1890, PLU was chartered by the State of Washington. The motive of starting the institution was to help immigrants and produce graduates who would serve the church and community. Classes started in 1894 with 30 students. The university's name was changed to Pacific Lutheran Academy and Business College in 1898. The University faced many ups and downs from 1900 to 1950 period. Later it was merged with the Columbia University located in Everett. Finally, the institution was reorganized as a university in 1960.
Presently, PLU has around 3100 students studying under various programs. PLU has the following schools and College:
- College of Arts and Sciences (including of the Divisions of Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences)
- School of Arts and Communication
- School of Business
- School of Education and Kinesiology
- School of Nursing
It is a member of The New American Colleges and Universities. Its library, The Mortvedt Library has more than 260,000 volumes of books and 23,000 full-text journals.