UOP: Pioneering higher education in California

BY VINCE REMBULAT

About three years ago Angela Leonardo operated her own studio.

She was highly certified when it came to physical fitness, having taught boot camp, Pilates / yoga and spin classes, to name a few, at the various gyms in Stockton.

Leonardo, who is in her mid-40s, eventually gave up her business in lieu of completing her education.

Enter the University of the Pacific’s Center for Professional & Continuing Education.

She studied Organizational Behavior in a 20-month program that’s designed to groom students for leadership and management or positions in human resources.

“It will be a perfect springboard into what I will be doing once I finish grad school and get my Masters in Health, Exercise and Sports Science,” said Leonardo, who proudly earned her Bachelor’s degree in May.

She was no stranger to UOP, having taught fitness classes there for many years.

But with her latest accomplishment, Leonardo is forever bonded with this independent, co-educational university that serves more than 6,400 students in three campuses – Stockton, San Francisco and Sacramento.

Pacific was established in 1851 by pioneering Methodist ministers. It became California’s first chartered institution of higher education, earning widespread recognition for its deep commitment to teaching and learning.

There’s also the history of innovation.

UOP provided the state with its first medical school in 1858. It was the first co-educational campus in 1870.

In 1878, the school opened the first-ever conservatory of music program.

But that’s not all – Pacific was first in the nation to offer an undergraduate teacher corps program and pioneered sending an entire class to an overseas campus.

The school was the first to establish a Spanish-speaking inter-American college and the first to offer a four-year graduation guarantee to students.

The campus moved to Stockton from San Jose in 1924, in turn, becoming the first private four-year university in the Central Valley.

In the last 60 years, UOP has expanded. The School of Pharmacy opened in 1955. A year later, the graduate school was created.

The School of Engineering opened in 1957. The Department of Computer Science joined the school in 2002. This eventually became the School of Engineering and Computer Science.

McGeorge College of Law, an independent law school in Sacramento that opened in 1924, merged with Pacific in 1966, becoming the Pacific McGeorge School of Law.

The School of Business and Public Administration was part of the reorganization that took place in 1977. In 1995, it was renamed the Eberhardt School of Business in honor of an endowment by the Eberhardt family.
The Center of Professional and Continuing Education that was designed specifically for adult re-entry students was reorganized and revitalized in 1985 through University College.

The latter gave Leonardo the tools to move forward with her future plans.

“I think I would have done much better (with running my own studio) given the knowledge that I gleaned from this program,” she said.

Her plans include teaching exercise physiology, sports nutrition, or sports psychology at the college level.

“My experience at UOP has been wonderful,” added Leonardo, who attended high school in Montana while finishing her senior year at Livingston High. “The class sizes are small and you get that extra time with the teacher or professor.”

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