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History and Namesake

The Jacoby Center for Public Service and Civic Leadership was established in 2000 and is named in honor of Harold S. Jacoby, late Professor of Sociology and first Dean of the College of the Pacific. Professor Jacoby was a model for his students in showing how civic engagement can enrich academic knowledge and be applied usefully in resolving social issues.

“In this day of change and revolution, in this period of unstable and uncertain values,…[we] need more than technical competence to see life and see it whole, to discover the depths and outer reaches of the human spirit, and to find balance and perspective in the daily round.”
—Dr. Harold S. Jacoby, 1965

Harold S. Jacoby Biography


Harold S. Jacoby graduated from the College of the Pacific in 1928. After graduation, he became Pacific’s first paid alumni secretary, and later received an M.A. from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Jacoby joined the faculty at Pacific in 1933, serving as Chair of the Sociology Department from 1939 to 1962. In 1962, Dr. Jacoby was appointed the first Dean of the College. As Dean, he developed an enduring identity for the College as a center of liberal arts learning.

Throughout his academic career, Dr. Jacoby was active in the wider community.

  • He served as an administrator of relocation during World War II, and assisted Japanese-Americans seeking employment outside of the internment camps.
  • He was an officer in the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Program in the Middle East in 1944.
  • He worked for better education for law enforcement officers and within the California penal system.
  • He was involved in Stockton through the Council for Civic Unity, Stockton Community Council and United Crusade.
  • He served as chairman of the Sister City Association, encouraging exchange visits with cities in Mexico, Japan and the Philippines.
As a historian of Pacific, Dr. Jacoby researched the evolution of the University and its role in the community. Alumni have recounted that Dr. Jacoby’s influence in their lives made them aware of their responsibility to improve society and to work for racial and ethnic equality.