The PUC story begins with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which has long had a strong commitment to education. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, the church established schools and colleges near major population centers across North America.
In 1874 the church founded its first college in Battle Creek, Michigan. A few years later, the rapidly growing California church began looking for a good location for a school in Northern California.
Fifteen miles north of Santa Rosa, in the vineyards of Healdsburg, they found ideal property and purchased an imposing, fully furnished brick structure just off Healdsburg's main street. Healdsburg Academy opened there on April 11, 1882, with two teachers and twenty-six students. In 1899, to reflect the expanding curriculum, the school's name was changed to Healdsburg College. In 1906 it became Pacific Union College.
In 1909, the church purchased the Angwin Resort in the mountains above St. Helena. They bought the land and its buildings for $60,000, and PUC was dedicated at its present Angwin site on September 29, 1909. The resort's hotel, bowling alleys, and cottages became dormitories, classrooms, and faculty homes. Students and faculty worked together building other structures, often using lumber harvested from the College property.
Over time, the campus saw the changes and adventures of a growing country. Changes in facilities and programs reflected shifts in culture and development, including the coming and going of a dairy, a chicken farm, and such courses as blacksmithing and home economics. In time, the college added physical education majors, aviation and film & television programs, and other contemporary fields of study. The school has always had strong education, religion, and science programs, with particular focus and success in the pre-medical courses.
PUC was the first school to meet the denominational Board of Regents' standards for college accreditation, in 1932. In 1933 PUC was accredited by the Northwest Association of Secondary and Higher Schools, another first for Adventist colleges. Accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges came in 1951.
One of PUC's major contributions to the Adventist system was the introduction of graduate work in 1934 with the establishment of a very successful summer program called the Advanced Bible School. After the 1936 session, the school was transferred to Washington, D.C., and became the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary.
Today the college's beautiful natural setting and California style continue to welcome hundreds of students each year, offering a community of true learning and spiritual authenticity.
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