Possible happens here

Vantage Point: Fresno Pacific University celebrates 75th anniversary

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Fresno Pacific University is the Mennonite Brethren institution located in Fresno, Calif. with regional campuses in Merced, North Fresno, Visalia and Bakersfield.

This year Fresno Pacific University (FPU) will celebrate its 75th anniversary since its founding in the Central Valley of California. What started as Pacific Bible Institute by the Pacific District Conference has grown to become a Christian multicultural university with campuses in Fresno, Bakersfield, Visalia and Merced, online programs and a biblical seminary. Serving more than 4,200 undergraduate, graduate and seminary students from 40 countries, FPU continues its Christ-centered commitment as an evangelical Anabaptist institution.

The home of the university is strategic, representing the diversity of the world in an area known as the most productive agricultural region in the country. Its diversity is represented by the second largest Hmong population in the country, a significant south Asia, Slavic and Armenia population and a diverse Hispanic population with ties in Mexico, Central and South America. FPU is the only Christian university in the central California region, resting between the Pacific Ocean and Yosemite National Park. Our main and north campuses located in the fifth largest city of California are strategic for extending the influence of the kingdom of God through national and global partnerships.

FPU has become a place where many non-Christian students are drawn because of the reputation of quality, only to discover a new life of wisdom that comes through knowing Christ as Savior. Each semester we hear testimonies of lives changed through student orientation, chapel, learning cohorts and service projects. Our spring convocations provide opportunities for transfer and nontraditional students to share the transformative power of Christ which occurred as a result of their joining our community.

With 100 areas of study, 22 graduate and seminary programs, 15 NCAA II sports teams and three centers, the university has stewarded quality in its pursuit to extend the influence of the kingdom of God nationally and globally. We purpose to prepare students to bring light and hope into dark spaces, to quench the thirst of those in dry places and to share the life of Christ through their vocations. This preparation as peacemakers, reconcilers, innovators and truth-tellers is central to the evangelical Anabaptist tradition which is central to our core education: an education that prepares students to think broadly, engage courageously and serve with humility.

FPU has become a place where many non-Christian students are drawn because of the reputation of quality, only to discover a new life of wisdom that comes through knowing Christ as Savior. 

Our stewardship has moved the university’s rating in US News & World Report from the ranking of 41 to 39 of best master’s universities in the West. The Washington Monthly rated FPU as one of the “Best Bang for the Buck” in the West. Money Magazine recently rated FPU as #11 in the country and #1 among Christian colleges and universities in being among the best places to transfer.

Our uncompromising Christian commitment has open doors in the fields of medicine/health care, business, education, community development, justice and the arts. We have forged partnerships where we have allayed a strike in a school district through the Center for Peacemaking.

Our Center for Community Transformation has assisted in launching 43 small businesses in the region, and our Center for Anabaptist Studies is providing professional development for ethnic and interdenominational pastors.

When the Lord planted Fresno Pacific University in the Central Valley 75 years ago, the founders could not imagine what God had in store for this community. We have adopted the phrase among our students that “possible happens here,” reminding them that “with God all things are possible.” The university has been faithful to the legacy of its founding fathers in extending the influence of the kingdom of God through the lives of our students, staff and faculty.

Joseph Jones
Joseph Jones is president of Fresno Pacific University. He and his wife, Yvette, came to FPU in 2017.

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