University History

University of the Pacific is the first chartered institution of higher education in the State of California. A mid-sized, independent university, Pacific offers a wide choice of high-quality undergraduate and graduate programs in Stockton, Sacramento and San Francisco.

Founded as California Wesleyan College in 1851 by Methodist ministers, the original campus resided in Santa Clara, California. The school, renamed University of the Pacific in 1852, moved from Santa Clara to San Jose in 1871. It changed its name to College of the Pacific in 1911 and relocated to its current site in Stockton and opened its doors in 1925. By moving to Stockton, Pacific became the first private university in the Central Valley.

In 1961, the College of Physicians and Surgeons in San Francisco, forerunner of the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, merged with Pacific. The McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento joined the University in 1966.

At Pacific, we pride ourselves on being a pioneer in higher education. From opening the first medical school on the West Coast to becoming the first independent, co-education campus in California, Pacific continues to make great strides in liberal arts and sciences and is recognized for preparing responsible citizen leaders who contribute in lasting ways to careers and communities.

The University'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. Among our notable alumni are world-renowned jazz musician Dave Brubeck, Golden Globe Award-winning actress Jamie Lee Curtis and California Attorney General Bill Lockyer.