Point Loma Nazarene University

Point Loma Nazarene University
Point Loma Nazarene University

Seal of Point Loma Nazarene University
Established 1902
Type Private
Religious affiliation Nazarene
Endowment US $37,360,494[1]
President Bob Brower
Students 3,480
Undergraduates 2,346
Postgraduates 1,134
Location San Diego, California, United States
32°43′01″N 117°15′02″W / 32.716853°N 117.250686°W / 32.716853; -117.250686Coordinates: 32°43′01″N 117°15′02″W / 32.716853°N 117.250686°W / 32.716853; -117.250686
Campus Suburban
Former names Pacific Bible College (1902-1906), Deets Pacific Bible College (1906-1910), Nazarene University (1910-1917), Pasadena University (1917-1949), Pasadena College (1949-1973), Point Loma College: An Institution of the Church of the Nazarene (1973-1983), Point Loma Nazarene College (1983-1998)
Colors Green and gold         
Athletics NAIA (Golden State Athletic Conference)
Sports Baseball, Basketball, Cross-Country, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Track & field, Volleyball
Nickname Sea Lions
Mascot Roary the Sea Lion
Affiliations CCCU, WASC
Website www.pointloma.edu

Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) is a Christian liberal arts college. Its main campus is located on the Point Loma oceanfront in San Diego, California. It was founded in 1902 as a Bible college by the Church of the Nazarene.



1. Phineas F. Bresee 1902-1911
2. Edgar P. Ellyson 1911-1913
3. H. Orton Wiley 1913-1916
4. Edward F. Walker 1917-1918
5. Andrew O. Hendericks 1918-1923
6. C. B. Widmeyer 1923-1926
7. H. Orton Wiley 1926-1928
8. Orval J. Nease 1928-1933
9. H. Orton Wiley 1933-1949
10. Westlake T. Purkiser 1949-1957
11. Russell V. DeLong 1957-1960
12. Oscar J. Finch 1960-1964
13. Shelburne W. Brown 1964-1978
14. Bill Draper 1978-1983
15. Jim Bond 1983-1997
16. Bob Brower 1998-present

The college was founded by several female laypersons in the Church of the Nazarene with the assistance of Phineas F. Bresee, co-founder of the Nazarene Church in Los Angeles. The "initiators," in the words of historian Timothy L. Smith, convinced "a reluctant Bresee to support the venture."[2]

The institution envisioned was "a simple Bible college" to train ministerial and lay leadership for the newly established Nazarene denomination, but a Bible college did not fit Bresee's notion of a real Christian school and he "promised little or no assistance." The women went ahead with their plan, with money raised from their husbands, and Pacific Bible College opened in 1902 under Principal Mary Hill.[2] In 1906, Bresee's interest in the college was piqued with a large donation from Jackson Deets. Bresee now saw the possibility for a real liberal arts college in the newly renamed Deets Pacific Bible College. Bresee and Deets were soon planning Nazarene University together: academy, liberal arts college, and bible school. It became one of the first three "official" educational institutions affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene in 1908, and was named Deets Pacific Bible College in 1909.[3] In 1910, it was renamed Nazarene University and, against the wishes of Jackson Deets and the advice of Nazarene General Superintendent John W. Goodwin, the college moved to the Hugus Ranch property in Pasadena, California.[2] It was renamed again to Pasadena University following a theological dispute and near bankruptcy in 1917.

The name was changed again to Pasadena College in 1924.[3] The school received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in 1949,[4] and the name of the school was changed to Pasadena College. The college preparatory program was ended in the 1950s. In 1973, the college was relocated to the former California Western University campus on Point Loma in San Diego, after a rejected plan to move the school to Santa Ana, where it existed for ten years as "Point Loma College: An Institution of the Church of the Nazarene" until the name was changed to Point Loma Nazarene College (PLNC) in 1983.[3] In 1998, the name was changed again, to Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU).

In 2008, a long-standing tradition of hazing at the Young Hall Dormitory was made public after several students complained to the school and local newspaper. The students claimed they were forced out of their beds, some by being urinated upon, and made to walk naked to and from the ocean beach the night before classes began. In response, Young Hall Resident Director William Hunt was fired from his position. No action was taken on the students directing the hazing event.[5]


PLNU has five different locations besides the main campus in Point Loma, with graduate programs at regional centers in Arcadia, Bakersfield, Inland Empire and Mission Valley San Diego. Once owned by the Theosophical Society, the Point Loma site has a lengthy pre-PLNU history.


By 1900, the campus was dominated by the imposing Academy Building and the adjoining Temple of Peace of the Theosophical Society. Both buildings were constructed in the Theosophical vernacular that included the flattened arch motif and whimsical references to antiquity. The buildings were topped by amethyst domes, which were lighted at night and could be seen offshore. The entrance to the Academy Building was dominated by two massive carved doors that symbolized the Theosophical Principles of "spiritual enlightenment" and "human potential." The sculptor, Reginald Machell, was educated in England, but moved to Lomaland in 1896. The interior furnishings he carved for the Academy Building were influenced by the Symbolist style popular in Europe at that time. Machell also supervised the woodworking school at Point Loma.

Greek theater

Lomaland had public buildings for the entire community and several private homes. The home of Albert Spalding, the sporting goods tycoon, was built in 1901. The building combines late-Victorian wooden architecture with historical motifs such as the modified Corinthian column (now shaped like a papyrus leaf) and flattened arches. The amethyst dome was restored by a team of scholars led by Dr. Dwayne Little of the PLNC department of History and Political Science in 1983. The first Greek theater in North America was built on this site in 1901. It was used for sporting events and theatrical performances. The tessellated pavement and stoa were added in 1909. The theatre was the site of a number of productions of Greek and Shakespearean dramas. Cabrillo Hall, which served as the International Center Headquarters, the Brotherhood Headquarters, and "Wachere Crest" building, was completed in 1909. It served as office space for the Theosophical Society and as a residence for Katherine Tingley after 1909. It was originally located on the west side of Pepper Tree lane.

Lomaland dissolved in the aftermath of World War I and was used for bootlegging during the Prohibition period. The tunnel systems and site were later taken over by Fort Rosecrans before World War II. It served as an observation point and several barracks were installed on the site, which constitute some of the campus dormitories for PLNU. In 1952, California Western University relocated to Point Loma. In 1968, California Western changed its name to United States International University and moved to Scripps Ranch, while the California Western School of Law retained its old name and relocated from its Point Loma location to downtown in 1973. Pasadena College moved from Pasadena to Point Loma to replace it.


PLNU is one of the eight U.S. liberal arts colleges[6] and universities affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene.[7] Although its name might suggest that it is the college for the "Point Loma" region, no such region currently exists;[8] PLNU is the college for the "Southwest Region" of the United States, comprising the Northern California, Sacramento, Central California, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Hawaii districts, which include California, Arizona, New Mexico, Hawaii, and parts of Nevada, Utah, and Texas.[9] Each college receives financial backing from the Nazarene churches on its region; part of each church budget is paid into a fund for its regional school. Each college or university is also bound by a gentlemen's agreement not to actively recruit outside its respective "educational region."[10] PLNU has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges since 1949.[11]


Point Loma Nazarene University has a "commitment to educating students as whole people."[12] The University offers more than 60 areas of scholarship as bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees, as well as graduate degrees. There were 3,480 students at the college in 2007, 2,346 of whom were undergraduates.[13] The 2007 acceptance rate for students who applied to the college was 73.5 percent.[14]

Student life

Athletics logo

The institution has a debate team that won the National Parliamentary Debate Association championship in 2007 and met success as Sweepstakes Champions three times since 2003.[15][16][17] PLNU has also won the Christian College National Championship in 7 times since 1998.[18]

PLNU is also part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC). The university sponsors 14 athletic programs, seven for men and seven for women, in cross-country, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's basketball, baseball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's track and field, women's volleyball, and men's and women's golf. Women's golf was added to replace the softball program that was dropped in 2010 due to the lack of a suitable and permanent playing field.[19] In 2002, the mascot was changed from the Crusaders to the Sea Lions.[20] PLNU has won the National Scholastic Surfing Association college national championship twice, in 1989 and 1999. [21][22]

Notable persons

Notable alumni include Edward J. Blakely, educator and researcher on urban and suburban issues,[23] James Dobson, prominent evangelical psychologist, Greg Laswell, musician and producer, and Mildred Bangs Wynkoop, noted Nazarene theologian. The school has produced four college presidents. Two were presidents of the Eastern Nazarene College: Fred J. Shields and Floyd W. Nease, 1919-1923 and 1924-1930, respectively. One, Orval J. Nease, was president of his alma mater from 1928 to 1933. The fourth, David Alexander, has been president of Northwest Nazarene since 2008. Hoku, singer and daughter of the late Don Ho studied business at PLNU briefly, but left during her first semester.

Notable faculty members include Darrel R. Falk, author of Coming to Peace with Science and director of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute outreach program, and Michael Lodahl, another noted Nazarene theologian. A notable former faculty member is Olive Winchester.

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Point Loma Nazarene University – Best Colleges". U.S. News and World Report. Archived from the original on 2009-02-20. http://web.archive.org/web/20090220162627/http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/college/items/1262. Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  2. ^ a b c "Why These Schools? Historical Perspectives on Nazarene Higher Education," by Stan Ingersol
  3. ^ a b c Raser, Harold E. (1996). "Chapter 23: Church of the Nazarene Universities, Colleges, and Theological Seminaries". In Hunt, Thomas C.; Carper, James C.. Religious Higher Education in the United States: A Source Book. Routledge. pp. 548–549. http://books.google.com/books?id=lxr_PID7o2IC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA548#v=onepage. Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  4. ^ Westlake Taylor, Purkiser (1983). Called Unto Holiness Volume Two: The Second Twenty-five Years, 1933–58. Nazarene Publishing House. http://wesley.nnu.edu/wesleyctr/books/2601-2700/HDM2623.pdf. Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  5. ^ Saavedra, Sherry (2008-09-04). "Christian campus is disturbed by hazing". The San Diego Union-Tribune. http://legacy.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20080904/news_1m4hazing.html. Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  6. ^ LIBERAL ARTS AND THE PRIORITIES OF NAZARENE HIGHER EDUCATION by J. Matthew Price, Ph.D. Eastern Nazarene College is the only Nazarene institution to retain the "college" moniker. Different states hold different standards for university status, but none of the Nazarene "universities" are research universities. Rather, Nazarene higher education is based on the liberal arts model.
  7. ^ Nazarene Educational Regions
  8. ^ Eastern and Northwest are the only Nazarene schools to use their regional names. Point Loma is named for its location on the Point Loma oceanfront.
  9. ^ Southwest Region
  10. ^ Guidelines and Handbook for Educational Institutions of the Church of the Nazarene. Church of the Nazarene International Board of Education. 1997. p. 14. http://www.nazarene.org/files/docs/guide.pdf. 
  11. ^ Statement of Accreditation Status
  12. ^ PLNU About Page
  13. ^ "Search for Schools, Colleges, and Libraries". U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics. http://nces.ed.gov/globallocator/. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  14. ^ "Point Loma Nazarene University". Guide to Best Colleges. U.S. News and World Report. http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/college/items/1262. Retrieved 2009-05-19. 
  15. ^ http://www.pointloma.edu/CommunicationTheatre/ForensicsProgram/Calendar/NPDA_National_Championships__Portland_State__Portland__OR.htm?DateTime=631845792000000000&PageMode=View
  16. ^ http://www.pointloma.edu/CommunicationTheatre/ForensicsProgram/Calendar/NPDA_National_CSU_at_Northridge.htm?DateTime=632172384000000000&PageMode=View
  17. ^ http://www.pointloma.edu/CommunicationTheatre/ForensicsProgram/Calendar/NPDA_Nationals_Colorado_College.htm?DateTime=633103776000000000&PageMode=View
  18. ^ http://cas.bethel.edu/dept/comm/nccfi/debate.html
  19. ^ "Point Loma Nazarene dropping 4 sports to stay equitable" by Brent Schrotenboer, UNION-TRIBUNE Monday, March 1, 2010
  20. ^ Point Loma Sports Associates
  21. ^ "NATIONAL SCHOLASTIC SURFING ASSOCIATION (NSSA)'s Photos - Wall Photos (Photo 314)". June 3, 2011. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150265220626115&set=a.315158946114.182444.314565261114&type=1&theater. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  22. ^ "NSSA Interscholastic State Champs hit Huntington Beach". http://www.surfersvillage.com/surfing/45600/news.htm. Retrieved 2011-07-24. 
  23. ^ Edward J. Blakely Center for Sustainable Suburban Development at the University of California Riverside

External links

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