Bastyr University was established as the John Bastyr College of Naturopathic Medicine in 1978 in Seattle, Washington (USA). It is one of seven accredited naturopathic medical schools and has offered baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral degree programs since 1989. It is considered one of the premier naturopathic universities in the country.

In 1996, Bastyr relocated to its current location in the Saint Thomas Center, a former Catholic seminary building in Kenmore, Washington approximately 15 miles from downtown Seattle across Lake Washington. Its 51 acre campus is almost completely surrounded by Saint Edward State Park's dense fir and hemlock forest. The park abuts Lake Washington to the west, and is bordered on the other sides by additional wooded property, residential neighborhoods, and a small commercial area to the east.

The former seminary buildings, completed in 1951, are located in a large open field (formerly a meadow) surrounded by evergreen and deciduous forest, as well as low-lying wetlands. The university maintains a medicinal herb garden that is used for teaching and community education. A network of trails throughout the campus and the adjacent state park provide linkages to the commercial area to the northeast and opportunities to walk and bike through the woods all the way to the lake.

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