A Short History of Pacific University

Photo of Old Science Hall

Oregon's Pacific University is the oldest chartered university in the West. The Oregon Territorial Legislature granted its original charter as the Tualatin Academy on Sept. 26, 1849. The charter predates statehood by 10 years, and was the first formal act of the territorial government.

Pacific founders were also instrumental in the 1843 vote at Champoeg, which resulted in the formation of the Oregon Provisional Government, the first American government on the Pacific Coast.

The school traces its roots to a log cabin meeting house in Forest Grove where the Rev. Harvey Clark, a Congregationalist minister, and Tabitha Brown, a former teacher from Massachusetts, cared for and educated orphans of the Oregon Trail. The University issued the first baccalaureate degree in the region in 1863 to Harvey W. Scott, later the editor of The Oregonian. Pacific's Old College Hall, built in 1850, housed the original academy and is the oldest educational building in the West.

Today, Pacific is a comprehensive university with undergraduate, graduate and professional programs in the liberal arts and sciences, optometry, education, healthcare and business. Pacific serves more than 3,400 students on campuses in Forest Grove, Eugene, Hillsboro and Woodburn.

More Pacific History

Old College Hall Museum

Pacific University: Pioneer Beginnings, Modern Impact

Source: Splendid Audacity: The Story of Pacific University by Gary Miranda and Rick Read, Documentary Book Publishers, Seattle 2000.