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United Methodist History

Since the founding of University of the Pacific as California Wesleyan College in July of 1851, Pacific has enjoyed a long, fruitful connection to the United Methodist Church. While today Pacific is a non-denominational university that embraces the diverse beliefs of all of its students, staff, and faculty, Pacific continues to celebrate the unique bond it shares with the United Methodist Church. This bond manifests itself in several ways:

  • The Bishop's Scholarship: This annual scholarship is given to select incoming Freshman or Transfer students who are active members of any United Methodist Church in California, Arizona, Nevada, or Hawaii. Candidates must demonstrate academic excellence and commitment to the church, and must complete a separate recommendation form and application.
  • United Methodist University Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award: Each year, one Pacific faculty member is recognized for their dedication to teaching and their contributions to campus life. Recipients are nominated by members of the campus community. The award is made possible through the generosity of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

Members of the United Methodist Church have also served as Regents for the University. However, since Pacific became financially independent of the United Methodist Church in the late 1960s, the University has not been required to include UMC leadership on the Board of Regents.

A relationship of mutual respect and fellowship remains between University of the Pacific and the United Methodist Church. Partnerships between local Methodist churches and the Chaplain's Office are important to the university and in 2012 the United Methodist Church reaffirmed Pacific's Methodist accreditation. Today University of the Pacific is recognized as the only Methodist-related university or college in the state of California by the United Methodist Church's General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.