In The Beginning
University of the Pacific in Santa Clara - 1853.
Methodist ministers and laymen founded University of the Pacific in 1851 in Santa Clara, California.
The school's principal founders were Dr. Edward Bannister from the Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Church, Reverend Isaac Owen from the Indiana Conference and Reverend William Taylor also from the Baltimore Conference.
The California Supreme Court, itself in its first year of existence, chartered the University as California Wesleyan College on July 10, 1851 as the State's first institution for higher learning.
Dr. Bannister was the first president.
The churches in the United States felt that they were responsible for the education and development of the youth, especially the youth growing up in California only a few short years after the Gold Rush reached its peak.
University of the Pacific was the first in a long list of schools started in California to attempt to counter the potentially negative effects on the youth from association with the alleged immorality of the gold rush miners known as the '49ers.
The effect of the Methodist church on the development of the young University cannot be overstated.
In fact, the Methodist Church selected members of the University's Board of Regents until the late 1960s, when federal law about public funding of church-related institutions became an issue.
In 1871, the school moved to College Park in San Jose, and in 1923, during the Presidency of Tully Knoles, the campus moved to Stockton.