The Board of Regents is one of the oldest boards in the State of California, established in 1851. A group that was the precursor to the Pacific Board of Regents—nine Methodist clergy led by Isaac Owen, the church’s “presiding elder” in California—first met on Jan. 6, 1851, to plan the creation of California’s first university, only four months after California received statehood. Six months later, on July 10, 1851, the California Supreme Court granted the state’s first charter for an institution of higher learning to California Wesleyan College. Less than a month later, the founders held the first official meeting of the 24-member Board of Trustees. Their first action was to rename the institution University of the Pacific. Pacific became independent from the Methodist Church in 1969.

Today the university’s Board of Regents is an extraordinary and diverse assemblage of leaders in the fields of business, law, health care, finance, real estate, banking, insurance, pharmacy, dentistry, manufacturing, engineering, entertainment, higher education and philanthropy. Many are Pacific alumni.

The Board of Regents has final responsibility for the quality and integrity of the educational experience and is the university’s fiduciary agent. The board selects the university’s president, who reports to the Regents, and approves the university’s mission, strategic goals, finances and budgets. The board also protects the university from external pressures that are antithetical to academic freedom to ensure Pacific’s autonomy and integrity.

The regents play an important role in philanthropy to support the university. Regent Tony Chan '77and former Regent Virginia Chan '77 co-chaired the $300 million “Leading with Purpose” fundraising campaign.

The regents, who serve as volunteers, meet three times each year on one of the university’s three campuses and serve on eight committees. Regents invite to their meetings the president and vice president of Pacific’s student government (Associated Students of University of the Pacific—ASuop), the chair and chair-elect of the faculty representative group (Academic Council), the chair and chair-elect of the staff representative group (Staff Advisory Council) and the president and president-elect of the Pacific Alumni Association.

Regents serve three-year terms and can be reappointed twice for a total of three consecutive terms.

The board is led by a chair, who is elected by the full board. Mary-Elizabeth Eberhardt ’76, ’80, a graduate of the College of the Pacific, serves as the current chair. 

Past Regents include the late Los Angeles Chargers owner Alex Spanos, the late Bank of Stockton presidents R.L. and Douglass Eberhardt, NFL Hall of Fame head coach Tom Flores, business executives Ron Berberian and Kathy Lagorio Janssen, former astronaut Jose Hernandez and former Whole Foods CEO Walter Robb.