History of the School

Early Learning — A Foundation of Pacific University

In 1846, a 66-year old widow named Tabitha Brown completed an arduous journey to Oregon and settled in Forest Grove. She soon became concerned about the welfare of the many orphan children in the area and dedicated herself to making their lives easier. Tabitha Brown shared her vision with Rev. Harvey Clark, who offered property and a meeting house in which to establish an orphan school. With the help of her neighbors and friends, “Grandma Brown” set up the school, where she provided the children with love, direction and the creature comforts of life. From this small beginning, an educational institution began to grow. After a few years of operation, a collegiate department was proposed, and in 1854 the original charter was changed to create Tualatin Academy and Pacific University. Tualatin Academy operated as a sister institution to Pacific University until 1915, when the final class graduated.

Pacific Expands Its Vision — A Building for the Future

In 1995, the Pacific University School of Education launched a new initiative to authorize early childhood educators. As part of this effort, early childhood program director Mark Bailey began his quest to establish a school for young children that would connect with the university's roots and bring the education of young learners back to Pacific. After receiving a generous grant from the Gates Foundation and Jim and Mary Berglund, Berglund Hall was constructed in 2007, with the Early Learning Community on its ground floor. Berglund Hall is a LEED-certified gold standard environmentally rated building with a large number of sustainability features (pdf).   

Children Return to the College!

Consistent with the mission of the College of Education and spirit of the founding of Pacific University, the Early Learning Community embraces its role as the true entry-level learning community on campus, once again guiding children toward lifelong learning.