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History of the College

The College of the Pacific—a school of arts, letters, and sciences—is the original and largest unit of the University of the Pacific.

Although founded in 1851 as the University of the Pacific, the institution was for 60 years primarily an undergraduate liberal arts college. In recognition of that reality, its name was changed in 1911 to the College of the Pacific, and thus it remained for the next 50 years.

University of the Pacific in Santa Clara in 1853
University of the Pacific in Santa Clara - 1853.

When President Tully C. Knoles moved the College of the Pacific from San Jose to its new campus in Stockton in 1924, the faculty that he brought with him represented 17 of the current 18 departments in the College. At that time the College also included a Conservatory and departments of education and engineering.

In 1961 the growing institution reclaimed for itself the name University of the Pacific, and in the following year conferred the name College of the Pacific on its liberal arts unit.

The College continues in its distinctive mission to provide graduates with a superior liberal arts education, preparing them to assume the responsibilities of leadership, both civic and professional.

College of the Pacific Timeline


1851-University of the Pacific is founded in Santa Clara and later moves to San Jose, California.

1911-The university is renamed College of the Pacific, reflecting its heritage as a liberal arts college.

1924-The campus is moved from San Jose to Stockton.

1961-The university reverts to its original name, University of the Pacific, and the college of arts, letters and sciences is designated College of the Pacific shortly thereafter.

Learn more about the history of the university and its pioneering firsts.

Harold S. Jacoby

Harold S. Jacoby was a Professor of Sociology and became the first Dean of the College of the Pacific in 1962 after it was designated as the arts and sciences college of the University.