Located in the hills above California’s famed Napa Valley, in the small town of Angwin, Pacific Union College has been providing primarily undergraduate education to students since 1882. Originally established in Healdsburg (when it was called, surprisingly, Healdsburg Academy), it is backed by the Seventh Day Adventist Church and stands as the second oldest Adventist backed school (Battle Creek, Michigan’s Andrews University began in 1874). Offering a strongly Christ-centered education to all comers regardless of race or creed, Pacific Union has spent well over a century crafting a learning community that “prepares students for productive lives of useful human service and uncompromising personal integrity.
The first college to meet requirements for accreditation from the denominational Board of Regents, it received its initial accreditation in 1932 and has since continued to offer Bachelor and Associate degrees, as well as a Masters of Education, certifications and many pre-professional programs. Though there is no distance learning at Pacific Union, this is perhaps owing to the religious backbone of the school, requiring student attendance at religiously focused community meetings, religion courses for all majors, and even a week of daily prayer in both fall and spring semesters that interrupts class schedules for those days.
PUC averages about 1500 degree seekers, most living in single sex dorms on campus, and offers them degrees in around 20 different areas, with a host of majors and study options to permutate with. The faculty ratio with students is about 13:1, offering a very interactive and close-knit classroom experience. Popular majors do run to religion and nursing, as well as education, but a surprising amount of pre-professional programs attract many students, especially in the medical fields. Intended as prep programs for degrees programs at other schools (either for Bachelor programs or graduate level pursuance), pre-med seekers are treated to programs in everything from dentistry and general medical, to physical therapy (many programs for this) and radiography (for those looking to go on the more technical side of things).
Summer school seekers are treated to tuition decreases across the board, including a full half of tuition and housing during that season. Summer offerings include a Summer School for Educators “targeted to excellence-oriented goals”, for teachers looking to continue growing, and for- credit trips to the Oregon Shakespeare festival, the nation’s oldest.
Degree completion programs for working adults with past credit collecting dust are offered, with once weekly evening classes that help achieve a Bachelor of Science in either management or early childhood education. These are offered both at locations in Napa and Clearlake, operating off the cohort model to allow for students to become comfortable with the same company of learners.
Missionary trips abound at PUC, with over 1300 students/teachers going to countries like China, Kenya, and Chile to bring Christ to the masses and increase knowledge of foreign lands/cultures (the school emphasizes diversity and understanding both in and out of the classroom). Study tours to Adventist universities in Coast Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama are conducted annually, giving experiential learning for credit in foreign countries, but with the same basic foundation as any Adventist school.
With a Christ-oriented goal of creating educated servants to better the world around them, Pacific Union College offers a picturesque college in the gorgeous wine country of California that combines fine education and prep for students with the Christian ideal to create a learning environment of care and success.