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.
University of the Pacific was established by pioneer Methodist ministers in Santa Clara in 1851 as California's first chartered institution of higher learning. Initially named California Wesleyan College, it petitioned the state to change its name to University of the Pacific one month after it was chartered. In the 160 years since then, Pacific has earned widespread recognition for its student-centered approach to education, its many firsts and innovations and the accomplishments of its 55,000 living alumni.
As an innovator and leader in higher education, Pacific provided the West Coast with its first medical school in 1858 (which later became part of Stanford, and today is California Pacific Medical Center), its first coeducational graduating class in 1858, and its first conservatory of music in 1878. It 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 offer a four-year guarantee, and the first to establish a Spanish-speaking inter-American college.
In 1871, Pacific moved to San Jose and in 1896, it merged with Napa College. 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. It was renamed the Gladys L. Benerd School of Education in 1992 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 only the sixth President since the University's move to Stockton in 1924 and the 24th since its founding in 1851.
In 1969, Pacific became financially independent from the Methodist Church. While it is still associated with the church, the University is non-denominational and does not require students to attend religious services or receive religious instruction, as is common with other universities with religious affiliations. Numerous student organizations are on campus to support various faiths and beliefs, including a Muslim students association, a group for Jewish students, a Newman Catholic center, and an organization for student atheists.
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 benefactor and University Regent who, with his brother Joseph Long, founded Longs Drugs Stores.
In 1956 the graduate school was created, and in 1957 the School of Engineering was established. Computer Science joined that school in 2002, and it was renamed the School of Engineering and Computer Science. In 1962, the College of Physicians and Surgeons, a school of dentistry founded in San Francisco in 1896, was acquired by the University and became the San Francisco campus. 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.
In the 1960s, Pacific founded Cluster Colleges, making it among the first in the nation to do so. These colleges adapted the Oxford and Cambridge model to an American setting, integrating faculty and students into living and learning communities.
Raymond College, was established in 1962. Elbert Covell College established in 1963 was the first bilingual-bicultural college in the country. Callison College, was established in 1967 and 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 emphasis on global education continued in a new School of International Studies established in 1987 with a gift from George and Isabel Wilson. It was the first university-based undergraduate school of international studies in California. The learning community concept of the cluster colleges was strengthened in College of the Pacific, the liberal arts and sciences core of the University, recognized for preparing responsible citizen leaders who will contribute in lasting ways to careers and communities.
The expansion of graduate and professional education continued when McGeorge College of Law, an independent law school founded in Sacramento in 1924, merged with the University in 1966 as McGeorge School of Law. The department of business administration in College of the Pacific was reorganized in 1977 as the School of Business and Public Administration. It was renamed Eberhardt School of Business in 1995 in honor of the Eberhardt family's endowed gifts. In 1985, programs designed specifically for adult "reentry" students were reorganized and revitalized through University College, now the Center for Professional and Continuing Education.
Accelerated programs were initiated at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in 1984. During the administration of President Don DeRosa (1995-2009), those programs were expanded to undergraduate studies in combination with professional degrees in pharmacy, law and business, allowing students to graduate one to three fewer years than required at most other universities. This started a new era of expansion and innovation.
Pacific completed or launched more than $40,000,000 in new construction and facilities improvements, including a 200-person residence hall, the first in more than two decades, an Art and Geosciences Center, a science laboratory building and the $21-million Health Sciences Learning Center and Clinics.
Since then, the University has added a second new residence hall, greatly expanded its student fitness center and completed a new Humanities Center. It has also completed an addition and renovation of the library, a Biological Sciences Center, and the Janssen Lagorio Gymnasium.
The Don and Karen DeRosa University Center and the John T. Chambers Engineering Technology Center are both LEED certified, part of the University's commitment to sustainability. The new Alex and Jeri Vereschagin Alumni House opened in the summer of 2011 and is awaiting LEED certification. The law school in Sacramento is planning to add new housing and conduct a major renovation of its library. The dental school in San Francisco, currently located in the Fillmore area of San Francisco, is currently looking to relocate to a larger building near the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
In 1970, Pacific became the home of the original papers of John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club and credited with convincing the federal government to create Yosemite National Park. Those papers are part of the Holt-Atherton Special collection, which holds more than 400 special collections for preservation and research. In 1999 jazz legend Dave Brubeck and his wife Iola, both Pacific graduates, announced that their papers, recordings and memorabilia would be deposited at Pacific for study and research. In response to this gift, a treasure of historic American music and memorabilia, President DeRosa announced formation of The Brubeck Institute for the study, promotion and performance of American music.
Pacific's progress and leadership in higher education have earned national recognition.
The University has been listed as a "Best Value" (Top 50) every year since 2000 and is consistently ranked among the top 100 national universities in the country. The Stockton campus was ranked by College Admission Essay as the fifth most beautiful campus in the nation in 2009. In 2006, Pacific was listed as the sixth most beautiful campus by U.S. News and World Report.
In 2010, Pacific accepted its largest freshman class since its opening, with nearly 1,000 students entering as the class of 2014.