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Fresno Pacific University
Fresno pacific log.png
Motto Founded on Christ
Established 1944
Type Liberal Arts
President D. Merrill Ewert
Faculty 200
Undergraduates 1007
Postgraduates 900
Location Fresno, California, United States
36°43′34″N 119°44′05″W / 36.7260°N 119.7348°W / 36.7260; -119.7348Coordinates: 36°43′34″N 119°44′05″W / 36.7260°N 119.7348°W / 36.7260; -119.7348
Campus 42 acres, 16 buildings
Sports teams Fresno Pacific Sunbirds
Mascot Sunbird

Fresno Pacific University (originally Pacific Bible Institute) is an accredited Christian university located in Fresno, California, United States. It was founded in 1944 by the Pacific District Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. The university awarded its first bachelor of arts degree in 1965.[1] A master's degree program was introduced in 1975.[1]


Mission and academics

According to its mission statement, "Fresno Pacific University develops students for leadership and service through excellence in Christian higher education."[2]

Fresno Pacific offers Bachelors degrees in 28 fields (and minors in an additional 10) with 45 areas of study. It also offers advanced degrees or credentials in four areas: Education, Individualized Master of Arts, Leadership & Organizational Studies and Peacemaking & Conflict Studies. The university is 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. In the most recent U.S. News & World Report college rankings, Fresno Pacific's peer assessment score tied it for 26th in the Western United States in the Universities-Master's category

Fresno Pacific is accredited through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.[3]


Graduation guarantee

In February 2009 Fresno Pacific University began offering a "Four Year Graduation Guarantee."[4] FPU already has the highest four-year graduation rate in the Central Valley, with 51 percent of traditional undergraduate students already graduating in four years,compared to 12-15 percent in the CSU system.

The university will guarantee graduation within four years to qualified students entering the traditional undergraduate program. The guarantee is limited to basic graduation requirements for a single major with no minor. Transfer, degree completion and graduate students are not part of the guarantee.

Student responsibilities include:

  • Sign up for the guarantee during the freshman year, choose a major by the second semester of the freshman year and keep that major until graduation.
  • Make course plans with their advisor, follow those plans and meet all advising, registration and financial aid deadlines.
  • Complete at least 32 units per year with passing grades in each course and remain in good standing behaviorally.
McDonald Hall


At the time of its founding, Pacific Bible Institute was located in a large home at 1095 N. Van Ness Ave. There were five staff members and twenty-eight students. By the time the first school year was finished, a former YWCA building at the corner of Tuolumne and L streets (originally designed by Julia Morgan) had been purchased, and the next school year began in this building.

By 1958, land was purchased for the construction of the current campus near the corner of Butler and Chestnut, along with the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary and the new Butler Avenue Mennonite Brethren Church. Construction began on a new classroom building that year, and two dormitory buildings one year later. The classroom building was ready for use in the fall of 1959, but the dorm buildings were not completed until 1961 due to financial difficulties.

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 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.

Building construction

Completed Name Information
1958 Sattler Hall Named for early Anabaptist leader Michael Sattler in 1973.
1961 Krause Hall Named for Arthur and Lydia Krause in 1990. Further units added to in 1962.
1961 Nachtigall Hall Named for Ben W. and Anna Marie Nachtigall in 1989. Further units added in 1962.
1961 Schlichting Hall Named for Marvin and Loree Schlichting in 1994. Further units added in 1962.
1961 Warkentine Hall Named for Al and Dotty Warkentine in 1989. Further units added in 1962.
1962 Hiebert Library Named for Cornelius and Elizabeth Hiebert, the primary contributors.
Hiebert Library
1964 Alumni Hall Building costs were mostly covered by alumni (renovated 2005).
1966 Marpeck Center Named for early Anabaptist leader Pilgram Marpeck in 1973.
1968 Kriegbaum Hall Part of Witmarsum Quad, renamed for former college president Richard Kriegbaum.
1968 Witmarsum Quad Named for the city of Witmarsum, birthplace of Menno Simons, in 1973.
1971 Strasbourg Hall Named for the city of Strasbourg, where early Anabaptists often sought refuge, in 1973.
1981 Special Events Center
1986 Bartsch Hall Named for Silas Bartsch and his wife Nadine Bartsch. Silas was an administrator and former interim president. The building was an existing residence which was purchased and remodeled.
1990 Wiebe Education Center Named for Arthur and Evelyn Wiebe. Arthur was a former president and member of the faculty, as well as the president of the AIMS Foundation, which provided a large portion of the funding.
1992 McDonald Hall Named for Arthur and Barbara McDonald, contributors and co-chairs of the fundraising campaign.
McDonald Hall
1998 East Hall
2002 AIMS Hall Named for The AIMS Foundation, which provided a large portion of the funding by means of a grant.
AIMS Hall, Mathematics and Science
2003 Steinert Campus Center Named for Marvin and Nadine Steinert, primary contributors.


Men's teams

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cross country
  • Soccer
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Track and field
  • Water polo

Women's teams

  • Basketball
  • Cross country
  • Soccer
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Track and field
  • Volleyball
  • Water polo


The athletics mascot is Sunny the Sunbird. Sunny is a much loved figure in the campus community. Unfortunately he was 'birdnapped' at the beginning of February 2009.[5] The site features videos and potential clues to the whereabouts of the mascot. However the mascot was seen in a golf cart during the orientation for the fall of 2009.


  • The Wittenberg Door, a board located in the atrium of Steinert Campus Center, near the entrance to the dining room, is a place for the exchange of ideas. People are free to post expressions of their views, but are asked to write pieces in a charitable spirit and to include the writer's name. It was built in approximately 1983, and the original version was located in Alumni Hall when it still served as the campus cafeteria. A new board was built in 2004, and the old one was dismantled. The Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary has a board with the same name and purpose outside the B.C. Lounge.
  • The Mennonite Central Committee holds its annual West Coast Relief Sale and Auction on the campus during the first weekend in April, at approximately 4:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. Friday and 7:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Saturday. Ethnic foods, used books, antiques, plants, world crafts and quilts are all sold on campus in various booths and auction events.
  • University Family Thanksgiving Meal
  • Winter Formal

Chief executives

  • 1944-1946 Rev. Sam W. Goossen - Acting President/Dean
  • 1946-1947 Rev. George B. Huebert - Administrator
  • 1947-1953 Dr. George W. Peters - President/Dean
  • 1953-1954 Dr. Rueben M. Baerg - Acting President
  • 1954-1955 Dr. Rueben M. Baerg - Acting President, one-half year; Administrative Committee last half of year, Dr. George W. Peters, Chmn.
  • 1955-1960 Rev. B.J. Braun - President
  • 1960-1961 Dr. Arthur J. Wiebe - Director of Pacific Bible Institute; Mr. Joel A. Wiebe - Interim Director
  • 1961-1975 Dr. Arthur J. Wiebe - President
  • 1975-1976 Rev. Edmund Janzen, Chairman, Presidential Council
  • 1976-1982 Rev. Edmund Janzen - President
  • 1982-1983 Mr. Silas Bartsch - Interim President; Edmund Janzen on leave
  • 1983-1985 Rev. Edmund Janzen - President
  • 1985-1997 Dr. Richard Kriegbaum - President
  • 1997-2000 Dr. Allen Carden - President
  • 2000-2002 Dr. Harold Haak - President
  • 2002-present Dr. D. Merrill Ewert - President

Notable alumni



  • Toews, Paul, ed. Mennonite Idealism and Higher Education: The Story of the Fresno Pacific College Idea. Fresno, Calif.: The Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies, 1995. ISBN 1-877941-05-0.
  • Wiebe, Joel. Remembering...Reaching: A Vision of Service, a Fifty Year History of Fresno Pacific College. Fresno, Calif.: Fresno Pacific College, 1994. ISBN 1-884397-01-8.

External links



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