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Pacific University is a private university located in Forest Grovemarker, Oregonmarker, United Statesmarker about 38 km (23 mi) west of Portlandmarker. Established as Tualatin Academy in 1849, the school has an enrollment of nearly 3,200 students. Founded by the United Church of Christ (UCC), the university's motto is Pro Christo et Regno Ejus, which is Latin for "For Christ and His Kingdom." Although the university is no longer formally associated with the UCC, it still maintains a close working relationship with the organization. The university is now a small private, independent liberal arts school, offering graduate programs in education, optometry, writing, and health professions.


Tabitha Brown, a pioneer emigrant from Massachusettsmarker, immigrated to the Oregon Country over the new Applegate Trail in 1846. After arriving in Oregon she helped to start an orphanage and school along with Rev. Harvey L. Clark in Forest Grove in 1847 to care for the orphans of Applegate Trail party. In March 1848, Tualatin Academymarker was established from the orphanage with Clark donating 200 acres to the school. George H. Atkinson had advocated the founding of the school and with support of the Presbyterians and Congregationalists helped to start the academy. Eliza Hart Spalding, part of the Whitman Missionmarker, was its first teacher.

The academy was officially chartered by the territorial legislature on September 29, 1849. The reverend Clark served as the first president of the board of trustees and later donated an additional 150 acres to the institution. In 1851, what is now Old College Hall was built and in 1853 Sidney H. Marsh became the school's first president. The current campus was deeded in 1851. In 1854, the institution became Pacific University. The first commencement occurred in 1863 with Harvey W. Scott as the only graduate.
Sidney Marsh
In 1872, three Japanese students started at the university as part of that country's modernization movement, with the three graduating in 1876. These students were Hatstara Tamura, Kin Saito, and Yei Nosea. President Marsh died in 1879 and was replaced by John R. Herrick. In the late 1890s an alumnus gave Pacific a Chinese statuette. The statuette was purchased from a Chinese family who used it as a sort of coat of arms. It appears to be a mix of a several different mythical creatures although it is often simply called a "dragon dog" and serves as the foundation for the university's mascot, the Boxer.

Marsh Hall was built in 1895 and named for Pacific's first president, serving as the central building on Pacific's campus. Carnegie Library (now Carnegie Hall) opened in 1912 after Andrew Carnegie's foundation helped finance the brick structure. In 1915, the preparatory department, Tualatin Academy, closed due to the proliferation of public high schools in the state. By 1920, the school had grown to a total of five buildings on and had an endowment of approximately $250,000.

Marsh Hall was gutted by fire in 1975, but its shell was preserved, and the structure reopened in 1977. Dr. Phillip D. Creighton became Pacific's sixteenth president in August 2003 and retired in June 2009. Tommy Thayer, lead guitarist of the band KISS was elected to the university's board of trustees in 2005. Pacific's seventeenth president, Dr. Lesley M. Hallick, was named on May 19, 2009.


Carnegie Hall
The central building on the Pacific campus is Marsh Hall. It houses several classrooms and faculty offices, in addition to administrative offices, including the financial aid office, student affairs, university information service, finance and administration, business office, registrar, provost's office, president's office and university relations. Carnegie Hall, the school's first library, is a one story brick building that use to house part of the College of Education, and now houses the Psychology department. The College of Education moved to the newly built, LEED certified, Berglund Hall. The Health Professions Campusmarker opened in a five-story Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certified building in Hillsboro in 2006. which was dedicated as Phillip D. Creighton Hall on July 30, 2009.

Pacific University is presently in the process of expanding. A state-of-the-art, LEED-certified $11.5 million University Library was completed in 2005. Burlingham Hall, a new residence hall was completed in August 2006 and achieved a LEED-certified gold rating. In February 2008, Berglund Hall was opened to house the School of Education, business department and the Berglund Center for Internet Studies, and is also LEED gold certified. In the fall of 2008, another new LEED gold certified residence hall, A.C. Gilbert Hall, opened on the northwest corner of the campus.

Current programs

In national surveys, Pacific University has consistently received high ratings in the category of private regional liberal arts universities with a limited range of graduate programs. Approximately half of the students are undergraduates in the College of Arts & Sciences, while the other half are graduate and professional students in the Colleges of Optometry, Education and Health Professions.

At the graduate level, Pacific University is probably best known for its College of Optometry, but also offers graduate programs in several allied health fields via its College of Health Professions in physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant studies, professional psychology, dental health science, pharmacy and a masters of healthcare administration program.

Pacific also has a full range of undergraduate liberal arts degree programs and a College of Education. The College of Education offers an undergraduate major in early childhood education and elementary education. There are also a number of graduate education programs including MAT/MAT Flex, MAT Special Education and M.Ed. in Curriculum Studies and a joint program with the Optometry school in visual function in learning.

In 2007, Pacific University's MFA In Writing program was named one of the top five low-residency MFA programs in the United States.


The Pacific University athletic program competes at the NCAA Division III program as a member of the Northwest Conference. Pacific was one of the founding members of the conference in 1926.

Pacific fields 20 intercollegiate programs. Men compete in baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field and wrestling. Women's programs are offered in basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, softball, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball and wrestling. On May 22, 2009, the university announced it will reinstate the football program in 2010.

Pacific's women's wrestling program is one of just five varsity programs sponsored by a college in the United States. The team competed as part of the women's division of the National Collegiate Wrestling Association, which began competition in 2007.

Like much of the Forest Grove campus, Pacific's athletic facilities have undergone major changes and renovations over the last decade. The Pacific Athletic Center, the school's primary complex, underwent a major renovation in 2000. In 2008, Pacific realized the completion of the Lincoln Park Athletic Complex. A partnership between the university and the City of Forest Grove, the complex features a FieldTurf soccer/lacrosse field, a nine-lane track, a new baseball field and stadium, and a new softball field and stadium. The University began construction of six new Plexipave hard courts on the northeast corner of the campus in October 2008. They are expected to be completed by April.

Student life

Marsh Hall
Pacific's newspaper, The Pacific Index, was first published in 1893. The next year an annual yearbook began as the Heart of Oak.

All of the Greek societies at Pacific University are "local", meaning that they are unique to the campus.


  • ГΣ - Gamma Sigma, "Gammas." Founded 1863.
  • ΑΖ - Alpha Zeta, "AZs." Founded 1867.
  • ΠΚΡ - Pi Kappa Rho, "Pi-Rhos." Founded 2004.


Notable alumni


Further reading

  • Drury, Clifford Merrill. 'Henry Harmon Spalding: Pioneer of Old Oregon." Caxton Printers, Caldwell, ID, 1936.
  • Smith, Alvin T. Original diaries at Pacific University Archives
  • Spalding, Henry H., in collections of Oregon Historical Society, Protestant Missions in the Pacific Northwest

External links

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