Full History

Founding of Pacific University

Education Program offers baccalaureate degree in teaching

State approves the offering of teaching certificates

Optometry program adopted

Physical Therapy program established

Occupational Therapy Program established

Professional Psychology program established

State approves the offering of 5th year master's degree

College of Education established

Physician Assistant program established

College of Health Professions established
MFA in Writing program established

New Silver LEED-certified library opens

Dental Health Science program established

Pharmacy program established

Gold LEED certified Hillsboro Campus (HC) opens in Hillsboro

Burlingham Hall, a gold LEED residence hall, opens

Lincoln Park athletic complex constructed

First annual Legends Golf Tournament benefiting Pacific Athletics hosted by Pacific Trustee, Tommy Thayer

Gilbert Hall, a gold LEED residence hall, opens

Berglund Hall, a gold LEED academic building, opens

Masters of Healthcare Administration program established

Pacific announces its 17th President, Dr. Lesley M. Hallick

HPC2 opens at the Hillsboro Campus officially establishing the Hillsboro Health & Education District.

Gerontology Certificate program established.

Football program resumes competition following 19-year absence.

In 1846, a remarkable 66-year-old widow completed a rugged trip west with her family to live in the Oregon Territory. Tabitha Moffatt Brown arrived in Oregon, but not before undergoing much hardship. At one point on the journey by wagon train, she was left alone on the trail in the bitter cold with her ailing 77-year-old brother-in-law. She pulled them through, despite being near starvation, and they reached the temperate Willamette Valley on Christmas Day.

Brown, the Rev. Harvey Clark and his wife Emeline, concerned for the welfare of the many orphans in the area, made arrangements for using a local meetinghouse in Forest Grove, Oregon as a school, which became know as the Orphan Asylum. By 1848, Mrs. Brown was "house-mother" to the students there and had become a driving force behind the school.

In the summer of 1848, the Rev. George H. Atkinson came to Oregon, commissioned by the Home Missionary Society of the Congregational Church Association to "found an academy that shall grow into a college... on the New England model." Atkinson and Clark drew up plans for a new educational institution, based on the orphan school. On September 26, 1849, the Territorial Legislature gave its official sanction to the new school, establishing by charter the Tualatin Academy. It was the first official act of the new provisional government and predates statehood by nearly 10 years.

By 1854 a new charter had been granted, establishing "Tualatin Academy and Pacific University." Congregational missionaries were key leaders in the establishment and growth of the University, and that legacy is still regarded as an important influence. Pacific, along with such colleges as Dartmouth, Carleton, Oberlin, Grinnell, Rollins, and Pomona celebrate a tradition of more than 350 years, dating back to the establishment of higher education in America with the founding of Harvard College by Congregational pioneers on the first American frontier.

As an independent university, Pacific continues to maintain ties with the United Church of Christ Council for Higher Education. The University supports religious pluralism, and is committed to instilling a sense of values and ethics, compassion, caring and conscience in both students and programs.

Pacific awarded its first baccalaureate degree in 1863 - the first in the region. Harvey W. Scott, recipient of the degree, went on to become editor of The Portland Oregonian -- now the state's largest daily newspaper -- and later established himself as an influential political figure. Scott's legacy at Pacific is honored in the Harvey W. Scott building, built in 1967, which served as the University library until 2005. The academy closed in 1915 as public high schools came on the scene.

In 1945, the University expanded into the health professions through a merger with the North Pacific College of Optometry. In 1995, the School of Education, now the College of Education, was established through reorganization of the professional teacher education programs that had been part of the College of Arts and Sciences. A year later, the Physician Assistant Studies program was added.

Other health professions programs were launched, including Physical Therapy in 1975, Occupational Therapy in 1984, and Professional Psychology in 1985.

In 2004, the College of Health Professions was formed; consolidating all the health programs except for the College of Optometry under one umbrella. A new Hillsboro Campus opened in 2006 in Hillsboro, Oregon. The Hillsboro Campus is a partnership with Tuality Healthcare hospital and the Virginia Garcia Memorial Clinic. In the same year, new programs in Pharmacy and Dental Health Science were established, followed by a Masters in Healthcare administration program in 2008.

President Phil Creighton's tenure (2003-2009) marked the most prosperous and expansive period in University history. A $51 million capital campaign was completed in 2006, helping to fuel a building boom, including the Hillsboro Campus in Hillsboro, a new library, two LEED-certified residence halls, an education and business building and extensive new athletics facilities. During this same time, undergraduate enrollment increased 18.5 percent while graduate enrollment, almost exclusively in the health professions, increased 22 percent for a total of about 3,200 students.

In 2009, Dr. Lesley M. Hallick became the University's 17th president after a career as a professor, researcher and, for the last 20 years, as Vice President and Provost of Oregon's largest healthcare institution, the Oregon Health and Science University. Throughout her tenure at OHSU, Hallick developed a reputation for building partnerships in and out of the university, developing and improving upon new and existing programs of study, and garnering internal and external support for programs and partnerships.