About Azusa Pacific University
Azusa Pacific University is a comprehensive, evangelical, Christian university located 26 miles northeast of Los Angeles. A leader in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, APU is committed to God First and excellence in higher education
Offering over 80 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs on campus, online, and at seven regional centers across Southern California, APU has been recognized as one of U.S.News & World Report's Best Colleges for six years running. APU graduates are known for professional excellence, the highest ethical standards, and their desire to make a difference in the world.
What is known today as Azusa Pacific University is the product of the merger of three Southern California-area Christian institutions: Azusa College, Los Angeles Pacific College, and Arlington College.
The origins of Azusa Pacific University reside in 1899, when a group of spiritual leaders from various denominations met in Whittier, California, and established a Bible college geared to training students for service and missionary endeavors. This was the first Bible college founded on the West Coast. The initial class of students met on March 3, 1900, with Mary A. Hill serving as the earliest president.
The institution, named the Training School for Christian Workers, moved three times before settling in Huntington Park in 1907. In 1939, the Training School became Pacific Bible College, and four-year degrees were offered. Cornelius P. Haggard, Th.D., was appointed president and served for 36 years, until his death in 1975.
By the mid 1940s, Pacific Bible College had outgrown its Huntington Park campus. The Board of Trustees decided then to purchase a 12-acre school for girls in Azusa. Classes began on the new campus in 1947, and in 1957, the name was changed to Azusa College.
Azusa College merged first in 1965 with Los Angeles Pacific College, a four-year liberal arts institution founded in 1903, acquiring the name Azusa Pacific College, and again three years later, with Arlington College, which had been founded in 1954.
After Haggard’s death, Paul E. Sago, Ph.D., became the president, serving until 1989. Upon its achievement of university status in 1981, the college changed its name to Azusa Pacific University. Among his many accomplishments, Sago encouraged the development and growth of off-site educational regional centers throughout Southern California, and presided over the addition of master’s degree programs and the development of schools within the university.
Richard E. Felix, Ph.D., became president in 1990. Felix painted a vision of a flagship Christian university, offering men and women an opportunity to gain not only their undergraduate and master’s, but also their doctoral degrees. Felix was instrumental in initiating the university’s first three doctoral programs in 1994 and 1997. This growth necessitated a renewed emphasis on the school’s historic Christian mission and priorities for community building and service. Felix reframed these values as the cornerstones of the university—Christ, Scholarship, Community, and Service—and oversaw the construction of seven new buildings, a doubling of student enrollment, and the quadrupling of graduate programs. He announced his retirement in April 2000, after the celebration of the university’s centennial.