Origins, Mission and Vision



Pacific University began as a school for orphans from the Oregon Trail in 1848 and in 1849 was chartered as a college founded by Congregationalists and modeled after the best schools of New England. Over time, the university has grown into a unique combination of undergraduate and graduate programs in liberal arts and sciences, education, business and health.

Today, Pacific’s focus on teaching and learning in a close nurturing environment leads to genuine transformation in students’ lives. Distinguished by its inquiry- based curricula and interdisciplinary collaboration, Pacific offers students exceptional opportunities for experiential learning, leadership and civic engagement.


A diverse and sustainable community dedicated to discovery and excellence in teaching, scholarship and practice, Pacific University inspires students to think, care, create, and pursue justice in our world. 

Vision 2020

Pacific University will embrace discovery as an essential characteristic of teaching, learning, scholarship, practice and creative expression. We will achieve excellence and distinction by investing in exceptional people. We will embrace a rich diversity of ideas, peoples and cultures. We will incorporate sustainability into all of our endeavors.

The culture of Pacific fosters warm and supportive relationships that enable the university to provide an extraordinary educational experience. Students, faculty and staff are drawn to Pacific by its welcoming environment, emphasis on public service, and development of graduates who contribute as gifted leaders of the global community.

    The Pacific University Vision 2020 Strategic Plan (pdf) was approved by the Board of Trustees on May 18, 2012.

    Pacific University embarked on university-wide strategic planning in March of 2023 to envision the next chapter of our future.