Pacific University Firsts, Bests & Honors

Optometry

Firsts



Gamma Sigma is the first Greek letter society west of the Mississippi River. Pacific’s fraternity was established in 1863.

Pacific University was granted Oregon’s first charter providing for the establishment of an institution of higher education by the Oregon Territorial Legislature in 1849. Tualatin Academy was established for the “instruction of persons of both sexes in science and literature.”

Pacific’s first class was held in College Hall (now Old College Hall) in October 1851. Old College Hall is one of the oldest educational structures in the western United States and the longest-standing academic building west of the Mississippi.

Gamma Sigma is the first Greek letter society west of the Mississippi River. Pacific’s fraternity was established in 1863.

Harvey W. Scott was the first baccalaureate degree recipient at Pacific. He later spent 40 years as editor of the Portland Oregonian. Scott Hall, a former campus library, is named in his honor.

Myron Eells, who graduated in 1866, was the first Pacific alumnus to become a trustee of the university.

Tomas Condon became Oregon’s first geologist in 1872, while teaching geology at Pacific University.

Carnegie Hall was Pacific’s first academic library building. Built in 1912, it was one of only three academic libraries built by the Carnegie Endowment in the West—and the only one in the Pacific Northwest.

The Pacific University College of Optometry (formerly the North Pacific College of Optometry) in 1947 was the first program to award a doctor of optometry degree in the United States.


The Pacific University College of Optometry (formerly the North Pacific College of Optometry) in 1947 was the first program to award a doctor of optometry degree in the United States.


Pacific is the first university in Oregon to offer graduate and professional training in education, occupational therapy, optometry, physical therapy and psychology.

Pacific’s first woman president, Faith Gabelnick, served from 1995 to 2003.

The Pacific University Fieldhouse, built in 1970, was the first athletic complex in the Northwest specifically built as an indoor practice facility for outdoor sports. In 2011, the fieldhouse installed a synthetic grass surface, FieldTurf, making Pacific the lone institution in the Northwest Conference to have an indoor practice facility with a grasslike surface.

Pacific’s women’s wrestling program, created in 2001, is one of only nine varsity women’s wrestling programs in the United States and the first at a school in the West.

In August 2007, the Pacific Fight Song rang out for the first time from the Marsh Hall bell tower carillon. The music, by Professor Charles Dietz, plays daily at noon and at 5 p.m.

In 2007, Burlingham Hall became the first gold-rated LEED-certified green residential building on the West Coast.

The Pacific baseball team was the first to use an experimental contact lens, developed by Pacific optometry professor Alan Reichow and designed to help players see the ball better in varying light conditions. The lenses were made and marketed by Nike and used by professional athletes in a variety of sports.

The Pacific Psychology Clinic at the Hillsboro campus is the first training clinic in Washington County to offer mental health services to both English- and Spanish-speaking clients.

Pacific played its first home football game at Lincoln Park Stadium on Sept. 18, 2010, after a 19-year hiatus from the sport. The Boxers logged their first post-revival win on Oct. 29, 2011, at Homecoming.

The College of Optometry opened the world’s first 3D Performance Eye Clinic in October 2011.