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History & Mission

Mission Statement

University of the Pacific's mission is to provide a superior, student-centered learning experience integrating liberal arts and
professional education and preparing individuals for lasting achievement and responsible leadership in their careers and communities.

HistoryClass of 1889

University of the Pacific is an independent, coeducational university serving more than 6,400 students on three campuses in Stockton, San Francisco and Sacramento. It was established by pioneering Methodist ministers in 1851 as California's first chartered institution of higher learning. Pacific has earned widespread recognition for its deep commitment to teaching and learning, its history of innovation, and the accomplishments of its 55,000 living alumni.

As an innovator and leader in higher education, Pacific provided the state with its first medical school in 1858 (which later became part of Stanford, and today is California Pacific Medical Center); its first coeducational campus in 1870; and its first conservatory of music in 1878.

Conservatory of MusicIt was the nation's first to offer an undergraduate teacher corps program, the first to send an entire class to an overseas campus, the first to establish a Spanish-speaking inter-American college, and the first to offer a four-year graduation guarantee. With its move from San Jose to Stockton in 1924, Pacific became the first private four-year university in the Central Valley. Shortly after occupying the new campus, Pacific established one of California's earliest schools of education. In 1992 it was renamed the Gladys L. Benerd School of Education in honor of the alumna's endowed gift.

Pacific has enjoyed extraordinary stability in administration. Dr. Pamela A. Eibeck began her service in 2009 as the sixth President since the university's move to Stockton in 1924 and the 24th since its founding in 1851.

First Stockton campus buildings

The university experienced its greatest growth and an expansion into graduate and professional education under the administration of Dr. Robert Burns (1947-1971). The School of Pharmacy opened in 1955. It is now the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, in honor of the Pacific benefactor and Regent who co-founded the former Longs Drugs Stores. In 1956 the graduate school was created, and in 1957 the School of Engineering was established. The Department of Computer Science joined the school in 2002 and was subsequently renamed the School of Engineering and Computer Science.

In 1962, the university acquired the College of Physicians and Surgeons, a school of dentistry founded in San Francisco in 1896. In 2004, the school was named the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in honor of its dean of 28 years. It was the first time any university in the United States or Canada had named its dental school for the current dean.

Building Burns Tower, once the tallest building in StocktonThree new cluster colleges were established at Pacific in the 1960s, in the model of British universities such as Oxford and Cambridge. These colleges integrated faculty and students into distinct living and learning communities. Raymond College, established in 1962, was an accelerated, interdisciplinary liberal arts program in which students shaped their own courses of study. Elbert Covell College, established in 1963, was a unique inter-American college. Half the students were from the U.S. and half from Latin America, with classes taught in Spanish. Callison College, established in 1967, focused on non-Western studies with a year of study in an Asian culture. The cluster colleges were absorbed into the rest of the University in 1982. Their values, including a close-knit learning community, accelerated and interdisciplinary programs, and self-designed majors, have left a lasting impact on Pacific. Their emphasis on global education continued in the School of International Studies, founded in 1987 as the first university-based undergraduate school of international studies in California. In 2012, the School of International Studies, while retaining its autonomy as a school, became part of the College of the Pacific.

In 1966, Pacific broadened its footprint to Sacramento when McGeorge College of Law, an independent law school founded in Sacramento in 1924, merged with the University as the Pacific McGeorge School of Law. In 1977, the department of business administration in College of the Pacific was reorganized as the School of Business and Public Administration. In 1995 it was renamed Eberhardt School of Business in honor of the Eberhardt family's endowed gifts. Programs designed specifically for adult re-entry students were reorganized and revitalized in 1985 through University College, now the Center for Professional and Continuing Education.

Over the last twenty years, Pacific has advanced its legacy of innovation and leadership. Under the leadership of President Donald DeRosa (1995-2009), the University invested more than $200 million in facilities renovation and construction projects on all three campuses. Pacific also increased distinctive accelerated programs that enabled students to complete undergraduate studies in combination with professional degrees in pharmacy, law, dentistry and business. The University intensified its commitment to experiential learning, including Pacific undergraduate research, internships, community service and education abroad. Pacific also launched the Brubeck Institute, dedicated to building on the legacy of Dave Brubeck '42, and the Powell Scholars Program, a premier scholarship program for undergraduate student leaders.

Pacific Today

Dr. Pamela A. Eibeck assumed Pacific's Presidency in 2009. Under her stewardship Pacific is expanding its presence in Sacramento and San Francisco and implementing a bold new strategic vision, Pacific 2020. This vision capitalizes on Pacific's highly regarded academic programs, formative student-teacher relationships and multiple locations to position University of the Pacific to become the best teaching-focused university in California-the first choice for talented students who want excellent programs, close working relationships with faculty, a challenging but supportive learning environment, and an exciting future after graduation.

Knoles HallIn 2013, the university received a transformational gift of $125 million from the estate of the late Regents Robert and Jeannette Powell. The Powells were ardent champions of the university's educational mission, and great advocates for access and excellence. In accordance with their wishes, their gift has been endowed and earmarked for scholarships and academic programs. A large portion of the gift will be used to encourage others to make new endowment gifts through the Powell Fund Match Program. Our donors' generosity and passion for Pacific will mean that generations of students will be able to achieve a superior education.

The University recently completed renovations on a new campus in San Francisco, at 155 Fifth Street, which opened in July 2014. The new campus provides the requisite space and facilities for the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry to continue defining the frontiers of dental education. It also extends Pacific's educational footprint and visibility in San Francisco in the health, tech, music, and food sectors. Additional new programs will be added in the coming years as Pacific focuses on attracting new student markets and leveraging its presence in three of Northern California's most prominent cities.

Beyond Our GatesPresident Eibeck has made community engagement a priority for the university. In 2010, Pacific launched the "Beyond Our Gates... Into the Community" initiative in order to forge community partnerships that improve lives in our region. As part of Beyond Our Gates, the university has launched The Tomorrow Project, an intensive K-12 educational outreach program, and the Beyond Our Gates Community Council, an advisory body comprising local leaders in San Joaquin County. The Community Council has garnered national attention through its work to improve early literacy in San Joaquin County.

On July 1, 2013, University of the Pacific rejoined the West Coast Conference. A founding member of the conference, Pacific shares its sister institutions' long tradition in intercollegiate athletics and their dedication to high quality academics and athletic success.

Pacific continues to enjoy national recognition for its leadership in higher education, consistently ranked among the best national universities by U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review. The University has been listed as a "Best Value" (Top 50) by U.S. News & World Report every year since 2000. U.S. News also ranks Pacific very high for ethnic(Top 5) diversity. In 2012, PayScale, which tracks salary information, ranked the University in the top 75 institutions in the United States for highest paid graduates.

The university remains deeply committed to its personal, student-centered approach. Faculty and staff are dedicated to excellence in teaching. Close faculty mentoring, a rich blend of liberal arts and professional education, and a broad array of experiential learning activities that prepare students for lasting achievement are hallmarks of the Pacific experience.

A dynamic three-city university