From PBI to FPU
What began as Pacific Bible Institute—a fledgling Bible college for the Mennonite Brethren founded during the tumult of World War II—would grow to become one of the nation's most diverse and inclusive Christian universities.
Fresno Pacific University is an institution of faith, grit and creativity. Despite numerous challenges over more than seven decades, FPU has managed to thrive in a region plagued by low degree attainment, brain drain, limited resources and limited access. Together, we have launched more than 24,000 alumni into service and leadership in education, business, health care, human services, ministry and more.
"Bethany College" is proposed to Pacific District Conference of MB Churches (PDC)
PDC creates School and Education Committee
PDC votes to establish a Bible institute
PDC establishes "Pacific Bible Institute" as official name
February 11, 1944
Building purchased at 1095 N. Van Ness
September 18, 1944
First day of classes (28 students enrolled)
Building purchased at 2049 Tuolumne Street
January 30, 1946
Campus moves from Van Ness Avenue to Tuolumne Street
June 2, 1946
G. W. Peters appointed as first official president (resigned August 1952)
Bible institute accreditation
Enrollment peaks at 161, highest of PBI era
Rueben M. Baerg appointed Acting President (resigns December 1954)
Mennonite Brethren establish a unified education system for PBI and Tabor College. Both institutions are governed by the same board.
Purchase of “Jones Property” near Chestnut & Butler Avenues
B. J. Braun appointed president of PBI & Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary (MBBS) (resigns 1960)
Purchase of “Clark Property” at Chestnut & Butler Avenues
First houses completed in Campus Homesites subdivision
Seminary moves into Giffen Home on the Clark Property
Creation of liberal arts program for Pacific Bible Institue
Butler Church opens on land originally purchased by Board of Education
October 19, 1958
Groundbreaking for classroom building on new campus
May 24, 1959
Dedication of classroom building (Sattler Hall)
Arthur J. Wiebe appointed president
Name changed to “Pacific College”
Intercollegiate basketball program begins
First phase of dormitories completed; College completely moves from Tuolumne Street to Chestnut Avenue
“Viking” mascot is selected
Pacific College receives junior college accreditation
Arthur Wiebe begins full-time duties as president (resigns in 1975)
Dirt track and soccer field on east end of campus completed
Track & field program established
Men’s soccer program established
Bible institute curriculum no longer appears in catalog
Hiebert Library completed
Second phase of dormitories completed, includes Witmarsum and Strasbourg (shown)
Enrollment exceeds 200 for first time
Alumni Hall completed
Third phase of dormitories completed
Original amphitheater completed
Senior college accreditation
Pacific College Idea first adopted
Warkentin Prayer Chapel completed
Cross-country program established
Science Building (Marpeck Center) completed
Mennonite Brethren students are majority of student body for last time.
By the fall of 1968 the fourth phase of men’s dormitory (Witmarsum Quad) completed.
The fourth phase of the women’s dormitory (Strasbourg Quad) is completed.
Total fall enrollment exceeds 400 for first time.
Dennis Anderson (shot put) becomes Pacific College’s first individual national champion.
San Joaquin College of Law completes addition to Hiebert Library.
The first master of arts program is approved.
MBBS is accepted as the official seminary for the General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (U.S. and Canada).
Edmund Janzen is appointed president (resigns 1984).
The official name of the university is changed to Fresno Pacific College.
Land is purchased for the Steinert Athletic Complex.
The Unified Board of Education is dissolved and the independent FPC board is established.
Hiebert Library addition is completed.
The new soccer field is completed (north of the current Facilities Management building).
The Special Events Center is completed.
The volleyball program and women’s basketball programs are established.
“Sunbirds” is chosen as mascot.
The academic calendar switches from quarters to semesters.
The revision of Fresno Pacific College Idea is completed.
Richard Kriegbaum is appointed president (resigns in 1997).
The cross country program re-established.
West Hall (later Bartsch Hall) is purchased and remodeled.
The track & field program is re-established.
The women’s volleyball team wins FPU’s first team national championship (NAIA).
The Bachelor’s Degree Completion (DC) program is established.
The Center for Peacemaking and Conflict Studies is established.
The total enrollment exceeds 1,000 for the first time.
Degree completion classes begin in Visalia.
McDonald Hall and Holman Park are completed.
Phase two of the Wiebe Education Center is completed.
Degree completion classes begin in Bakersfield and Merced.
Allen Carden is appointed president (resigns in 2000).
The name of the university is changed to Fresno Pacific University.
East Hall (later Jost Hall) is completed.
Ecklund Park is completed.
Harold Haak is appointed president (resigns in 2003).
AIMS Hall of Math and Science completed.
D. Merrill Ewert is appointed president (resigns in 2012).
Steinert Campus Center is completed.
The new academic structure is implemented creating the present four schools.
In January of 2005 the Bakersfield and Visalia regional campuses open and in December the North Fresno regional campus opens.
The men’s baseball team begins competition.
The first fully online programs are introduced.
Racial minority students form the majority of the student body for first time in FPU’s history.
The total enrollment exceeds 2,000 for first time in FPU’s history while degree completion enrollment exceeds traditional undergraduate enrollment for first time.
Visalia Regional Campus moves to Plaza Drive and the Bakersfield Regional Campus moves to River Run Blvd.
The Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary (MBBS) becomes part of FPU as the Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary.
Merced Regional Campus opens on El Portal Drive.
The first classes of RN-to-BSN and global MBA graduate.
Enrollment hits another milestone at 3,603 students.
In 2012, Pete Menjares, is appointed president (resigns in 2014).
FPU ranks in the top 10 nationally among Hispanic-Serving Institutions in graduating Hispanic students.
FPU is approved for active NCAA membership and the Sunbirds fly in the NCAA Division II.
FPU partners with California Health Sciences University to offer transfers to CHSU after three years to complete their doctorate of pharmacy program.
FPU’s STEM program receives national “Example of Excelencia Award” in the baccalaureate category from the non-profit agency Excelencia in Education.
Joseph Jones is installed as 13th president of Fresno Pacific University.
FPU’S social work program receives accreditation by the Council on social work Education (CSWE).