Members: Private Colleges & Universities

Pacific University

Pacific University is a diverse learning community offering a unique combination of undergraduate, graduate and professional programs in the liberal arts and sciences, education, business, optometry and the health professions.

The school was founded in Forest Grove in 1849 by Congregationalist pioneers. Originally the Tualatin Academy, it became Pacific University in 1854 and conferred its first baccalaureate degree in 1863. Today, Pacific University serves nearly 3,500 students on its campuses in Forest Grove, Hillsboro, Eugene and Woodburn, and also operates a variety of healthcare clinics in the greater Portland area. Students and alumni hail from all 50 states and several countries around the world.

Interesting Facts

  • Pacific University was granted the first charter by the Oregon Territorial Legislature that provided for the establishment of an institution of higher education in 1849. The Orphan Asylum, operated by Tabitha Brown, focused on “the instruction of persons of both sexes in science and literature.”
  • Pacific’s College of Optometry, formerly the North Pacific College of Optometry, is the first program in the United States to have awarded a doctor of optometry degree (O.D.).
  • Old College Hall, constructed in 1850, is one of the oldest educational structures in the western United States still in operation. The building is home to the university’s museum and is used for social receptions and gatherings.
  • Pacific’s mascot, Boxer, is a mythical part-dog, part-dragon known as a qilin (pronounced chi-lin) and prominent in various East Asian cultures. Pacific alumnus Rev. Joseph Elkanah Walker brought back a bronze statue of a qilin from China in 1896 following a mission there. The university’s student newspaper later named the qilin “Boxer” in honor of the Boxer Rebellion uprising in the Asian country (1898-1901) that took place shortly after Elkanah’s trip.
  • The Library’s Archives division preserves the personal collection of former Oregon Governor Vic Atiyeh. The collection is available for public viewing.


  • Undergraduate: 1,783
  • Graduate/Professional: 1,824


  • Tuition (2015-16): $39,858
  • Room & Board (2015-16): $11,448

Financial Aid Data

  • Students with Demonstrated Financial Need: 83.3%
  • Average Financial Aid Package: $29,308
  • Percent Need Met (Need-Based Aid): 85.8%


  • Total Living: 25,000
  • Percent Living in Oregon: 11,750

Student Profile

  • Male: 42%
  • Female: 58%
  • Resident (Oregon) Students: 32% (undergraduate)
  • Nonresident Students: 68% (undergraduate)
  • Number of Undergraduate Majors: 65
  • Number of Minors/Concentration Fields: 47

Most Popular Majors

  • Biology
  • Business
  • Exercise Science

Class Size

  • Student/Faculty Ratio: 10:1
  • Fewer than 20 Students: 67%
  • Fewer than 50 Students: 97.2%


  • Full-time Faculty: 60.3%
  • Full-time Faculty with PhD/Terminal Degree: 86.3%

Athletics and Intramural Activities

Co-curricular Activities

  • Number of Student Clubs & Organizations: 64



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