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Pacific announces new Sacramento degrees

Expansion represents milestone in region’s higher education landscape
Jun 26, 2015

Photos from the June 26th expansion celebration at the Sacramento Campus.
View full-size images on our Flickr site

University of the Pacific today celebrated the expansion of its Sacramento campus, longtime home of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, into a multidisciplinary center that will educate the professionals California needs in the decades ahead.

Joining the law school will be new graduate programs in health, education, business and public policy. Five new degrees will be rolled out over the next two years: Master of Business Administration; Doctor of Education; Master of Public Policy; Master of Physician Assistant Studies; and Master of Public Administration.

“This is a watershed moment for our university,” said Pamela A. Eibeck, president of University of the Pacific. “Pacific has been a pioneer in higher education in California for more than a century and a half, and it is with great excitement that we expand our presence and service in the Sacramento region.”

Founded in 1851 as California’s first chartered institution of higher education, University of the Pacific today serves more than 6,300 students, 86 percent of them from California. The university’s 55,000 living alumni include human rights leader Sakena Yacoobi, civil rights leader Dolores Huerta, NFL coach Pete Carroll, and astronaut José Hernández. Late alumni include jazz legend Dave Brubeck, former San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and movie actress Janet Leigh.

“A 3.0 City needs great universities and Pacific’s expansion in Sacramento means that we're going to be better able to have a workforce prepared to fill jobs in the new economy,” said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. “Sacramento is fortunate that a California-grown university with such an excellent reputation will be providing more opportunities for people in this region to pursue graduate and professional degrees which will result in jobs.”

High-demand degrees

First to enroll students will be the new MBA and Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) programs, beginning this fall. The Master of Public Policy (MPP) program will follow in fall 2016. The Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MSPA) program is expected to begin in spring 2017, pending accreditation by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant. And the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program will launch in fall 2017.

The physician assistant program will be full time. The other new degree programs will serve working professionals.

Bill Mueller, CEO of Valley Vision, said the new offerings will educate students in key fields where professionals are in especially high demand in the Sacramento region.

“We must strengthen our economic base and sharpen our competitive edge in the global marketplace,” Mueller said. “That requires a well-educated workforce. Pacific has been providing a superior education in Northern California for generations, and continues its long tradition of innovation and service with its new vision for its Sacramento Campus.”

Student at McGeorge

The Sacramento Campus earlier this year became a new site for Pacific’s Center for Business and Policy Research, which has informed public policy through its economic forecasts and other studies since 2004. The center, which continues to have an office on Pacific’s Stockton campus, will offer students rich opportunities for multidisciplinary research and collaboration.

“The collaboration and opportunities that will emerge from bringing law, business, health, education, administration and policy programs together on one campus will be tremendous,” said Maria Pallavicini, provost of University of the Pacific. “The Sacramento Campus will be a dynamic educational center where both full-time and working professional students can learn across disciplines, network, and prepare themselves for success in our progressively interconnected society.”

Market research

To guide its expansion in Sacramento, the university tapped the expertise of its  Center for Business and Policy Research. Center Director Jeff Michael assessed potential demand for higher education opportunities in the Sacramento region by comparing the city with capital regions in other states and with other similar-sized metropolitan areas.

The Sacramento region had three universities of more than 1,000 students: UC Davis, Sacramento State and William Jessup University in Roseville. In contrast, Denver, Albany, Austin, Columbus, and Washington, D.C., each had at least twice as many. Washington, D.C., had 13. Sacramento also came up short compared with Portland, Oregon (7), San Antonio (6) and Cincinnati (7).

Michael compared degrees awarded as well. Sacramento was on par with comparable capitals in the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded, but lagged tremendously in the number of master’s degrees. While Austin, Columbus and Denver confer an average of 4,667 graduate degrees per year, Sacramento awards fewer than half that number: 2,062. 

Up to 400 new students

Law Students

The Sacramento Campus is expected to enroll approximately 400 students in the new degree programs within the next five years, and add approximately 10 to 12 new faculty. In addition, Pacific has offered space on campus for Drexel students who want to complete their Drexel degrees in Sacramento. The Philadelphia university announced earlier this spring that it is phasing out its Sacramento facility. 

Students in the new programs will join some 600 law students already on the Sacramento Campus, located in the city’s Oak Park neighborhood 3 miles from the Capitol. The 13-acre campus became part of University of the Pacific in 1966, when McGeorge College of Law merged with Pacific.

McGeorge combines a rigorous grounding in legal doctrine and analysis with coursework and real-world experiences that reflect the multifaceted demands of modern lawyering. McGeorge offers Juris Doctor (JD), Doctor of Juridical Science (JSD), Master of Laws (LLM) and, most recently, Master of Science in Law (MSL) degrees.

Like other law schools around the country, McGeorge has scaled back its enrollment in recent years in response to a downturn in demand for attorneys. This created the opportunity for Pacific to expand its offerings in Sacramento.

Pacific’s largest campus is in Stockton and houses undergraduate, graduate and professional programs, including an acclaimed Conservatory of Music and the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

Pacific opened a $151 million new campus in downtown San Francisco last year to house the university’s Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry and new graduate programs in analytics, audiology, music therapy and food studies. 

About University of the Pacific
Established in 1851 as the first chartered institution of higher education in California, University of the Pacific prepares students for professional and personal success through rigorous academics, small classes, and a supportive and engaging culture. Widely recognized as one of the most beautiful private university campuses in the West, the Stockton campus offers more than 80 majors in seven schools. The university’s distinctive Northern California footprint also includes a campus in San Francisco, home to the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry and new graduate programs in health, food and technology fields, and in Sacramento, home to the Pacific McGeorge School of Law and new graduate programs in health, education, business and public policy. For more information, visit

Media contact:
Claudia Morain | | 209.946.2313 office | 209.479.9894 cell

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