Fresno Pacific University

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Fresno Pacific University
Fresno pacific log.png
MottoFounded on Christ
TypeLiberal Arts
AffiliationMennonite Brethren Church
PresidentDr. Joseph Jones
Academic staff
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
Campus42 acres (17 ha), 16 buildings
ColorsBlue and Orange
NicknameFresno Pacific Sunbirds
Sporting affiliations
Pacific West Conference NCAA Division II (2012–present)
NAIA (1986–2012)

Fresno Pacific University (FPU) is a Christian university in Fresno, California.[1] It was founded as the Pacific Bible Institute in 1944 by the Pacific District Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. The university awarded its first Bachelor of Arts degree in 1965.[2] The first master's degree program was introduced in 1975.[2]


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 because of 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.

In 2010 the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary became a part of the university, and changed its name to Fresno Pacific University Biblical Seminary.

Chief executives[edit]

  • 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
  • 2002–2012 Dr. D. Merrill Ewert – President
  • 2012–2014 Dr. Pete Menjares – President
  • 2014–2017 Dr. Richard Kriegbaum—President
  • 2017–present Dr. Joseph Jones—President


Fresno Pacific offers bachelor's degrees in more than 40 fields with over 100 areas of study. It also offers advanced degrees or credentials in four areas: Education, Individualized Master of Arts, MBA, Leadership & Organizational Studies and Peacemaking & Conflict Studies. The university is organized into five schools: The School of Business; the School of Education; the School of Humanities, Religion and Social Sciences; the School of Natural Sciences; and the School of Biblical Seminary. In the most recent U.S. News & World Report college rankings, Fresno Pacific's peer assessment score tied it for 18th in the Western United States in the Universities-Master's category. Fresno Pacific is accredited through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Graduation guarantee[edit]

McDonald Hall

In February 2009 Fresno Pacific University began offering a "Four Year Graduation Guarantee."[3] FPU already has the highest four-year graduation rate in the Central Valley, with 60 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 adviser, 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.


Fresno Pacific University's main 50-acre campus is located in the south east area of Fresno, hub of the Central Valley region of California and the fifth largest city in the state.

The university also maintains four regional campuses in Central California:

  • Merced Regional Campus
  • North Fresno Regional Campus
  • Visalia Regional Campus
  • Bakersfield Regional Campus


Hiebert Library
McDonald Hall
AIMS Hall, Mathematics and Science
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.
Nachtigall Hall Named for Ben W. and Anna Marie Nachtigall in 1989. Further units added in 1962.
Schlichting Hall Named for Marvin and Loree Schlichting in 1994. Further units added in 1962.
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.
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.
Witmarsum Quad Named for the village 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.[1][4] Silas was an administrator and former interim president.[5] 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.
1998 Jost Hall Formerly known as East Hall, changed in 2017 to current name.
2002 AIMS Hall Named for The AIMS Foundation, which provided a large portion of the funding by means of a grant.
2003 Steinert Campus Center Named for Marvin and Nadine Steinert, primary contributors.
2010 Seminary House Previously the administration building of Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, which became a part of the university in 2010.
2010 North Hall Previously a classroom, student center, and office building of Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary.


The Fresno Pacific Sunbirds compete in the Pacific West Conference of the NCAA Division II.[6] The university sponsors 16 intercollegiate sports, eight each for men and women:


The athletics mascot is Sunny the Sunbird. Sunny is a much loved figure in the campus community.


  • 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

Notable alumni[edit]



  1. ^ a b Kevin Enns-Rempel; Hannah Keeney (2020). "Fresno Pacific University: The First 75 Years". Arcadia Publishing. pp. 90, 84. ISBN 9781467104593. Retrieved 2021-01-22.
  2. ^ a b Peters, George W and Richard D. Thiessen (July 2008). "Fresno Pacific University (Fresno, California, USA)". Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2009-11-28.
  3. ^ "Four Year Guarantee". Archived from the original on 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2009-02-14.
  4. ^ Arthur J. Wiebe (2010). "Education and entrepreneurship: a personal journey" (PDF). 39 (1). Direction (journal): 93. Retrieved 2021-01-22. Silas Bartsch resigned as Superintendent of Kings River Unified School District to launch our professional development program. While its mission was to improve education in Valley schools, it also generated income that helped fund undergraduate education. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ Wayne Steffen (2001-10-25). "Silas Bartsch lived his passion for service, innovation and education". University News (FPU). Retrieved 2021-01-22. Wiebe remembered the telephone call where Bartsch offered, not just to serve on a board or advisory committee as Wiebe had thought, but to leave his post as superintendent of Kings Canyon Unified School District to teach at FPU.
  6. ^ Staff (June 1, 2011). "Sunbirds accept PacWest invite". The Fresno Bee. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved June 2, 2011.


  • 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[edit]