Fresno Pacific University (Fresno, California, USA)

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Pacific Bible Institute of Fresno came into being in response to a long-felt need on the part of the Mennonite Brethren Church on the Pacific Coast to have a Bible School where the young people might avail themselves of a sound Biblical training in an institution organically related to their own conference. On 18 September 1944, the Pacific Bible Institute of Fresno was formally opened with an enrollment of 27 students in Fresno, California in a large residence at 1095 N. Van Ness. Six faculty members, four full-time and two part-time, had been engaged by the Board of Directors. The enrollment increased to 35 students during the second semester of the school year. Toward the close of the first year another building, a former YMCA building, was purchased at 2149 Tuolumne, a three-story structure. In 1954 the Mennonite Brethren Conference of North America initiated a program of unification in its various educational endeavors and the Institute became a General Conference school. In 1958 a 20-acre site was purchased for a new campus.

The aims of the school in 1959 were as follows: (1) To give young people a thorough knowledge of the Bible; (2) To train them in the highest type of Christian living in whatever walk of life they may find themselves; (3) To prepare them for Christian service, at home or abroad; (4) To fortify them against the various unscriptural philosophies of life; (5) To send forth sanctified Christlike personalities, yielded and obedient to the Master.

In keeping with its purpose the Institute made the study of the Bible the very center of its curriculum. For some time the Institute offered four- and five-year programs granting the Bible College Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Theology degrees. In keeping, however, with the program of unification and co-ordination a three-year course was offered, leading to a diploma in Bible and a two-year course granting the Associate in Arts degree in liberal arts or sacred music.

The Bachelor of Theology was transferred to the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, which was established on the same campus in 1956, and there expanded to a Bachelor of Divinity and later a Master of Divinity program.

The Bible Institute became an accredited junior college in 1961 and decided to develop a four-year program two years later in 1963. In 1964, Pacific Bible Institute changed its name to Pacific College, and became accredited with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) the next year. By 1967, the decision was made to add graduate courses, and the accreditation for the first Master of Arts program was received from WASC in 1975. The college changed its name to Fresno Pacific College in 1976 and to Fresno Pacific University in 1997.

In 2008 the university was organized into four schools: The School of Business; the School of Education; the School of Humanities, Religion and Social Sciences; and the School of Natural Sciences. The university offered bachelors degrees in 28 fields with 45 areas of study, and also offered advanced degrees or credentials in education, leadership and organizational studies, and peacemaking and conflict studies. The university had a faculty of 200, 1007 undergraduates, and 900 graduate students.


Wikipedia. "Fresno Pacific University." Web. 2 July 2008.

Additional Information

Presidents of Fresno Pacific

Presidents Years
Sam W. Goosen (dean of the institute) 1944-1946
George B. Huebert (administrator) 1946-1947
George W. Peters 1947-1953
Reuben M. Baerg (interim) 1953-1954
Reuben M. Baerg / George W. Peters (interim) 1954-1955
Bernhard J. Braun 1955-1960
Arthur J. Wiebe / Joel A. Wiebe (interim) 1960-1961
Arthur J. Wiebe 1961-1975
Edmund Janzen 1975-1982
Silas Bartsch (interim) 1982-1983
Edmund Janzen 1983-1985
Richard A. Kriegbaum 1985-1997
Allen Carden 1997-2000
Harold A. Haak 2000-2002
D. Merrill Ewert 2002-2012
Pete C. Menjares 2012-2014
Richard A. Kriegbaum 2014-2017
Joseph Jones 2017-present

Author(s) George W. Peters
Richard D. Thiessen
Date Published November 2012

Cite This Article

MLA style

Peters, George W. and Richard D. Thiessen. "Fresno Pacific University (Fresno, California, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. November 2012. Web. 4 Aug 2021.,_California,_USA)&oldid=155717.

APA style

Peters, George W. and Richard D. Thiessen. (November 2012). Fresno Pacific University (Fresno, California, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 4 August 2021, from,_California,_USA)&oldid=155717.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 103. All rights reserved.

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