Enrollment up and facilities planned at Fresno Pacific University

A new president, a strong financial picture and a comprehensive building plan complement continuing enrollment gains at Fresno Pacific University.

This fall is Harold Haak's first as president. Haak served as president of California State University, Fresno from 1980-91 after administrative posts at the University of California, Davis, the University of Colorado at Denver and San Diego State University. "I feel a strong empathy with the mission of this university," Haak said upon taking the helm at FPU. "It's commitment to academic excellence and Christian character development allows students to cultivate to the fullest all their gifts."

More students than ever are cultivating their gifts at FPU. The traditional undergraduate program continues to attract larger numbers of academically well-prepared students from diverse ethnic backgrounds, contributing to strong enrollment throughout the university's three schools.

Fall enrollment was 1,714, with 830 in Fresno Pacific College, which serves mainly traditional-age college students, 808 in Fresno Pacific Graduate School's first fall term and 76 in the Center for Degree Completion. Combined enrollment at the same time in 1999 was 1,699, with 780 in the college, 805 in the graduate students and 113 in the CDC. The growth in the college from 602 students in fall 1997 is a 38 percent increase.

Academic standards remain strong as the average grade-point average among incoming students this fall was 3.56 for new freshmen and 3.15 for transfers and the average GPA for the entire incoming classes has been 3.5 for the past four years.

Average SAT scores for the top 25 percent of incoming students have also been above 1,256 for the last four years. "Our top 25 percent are what you'd find at the University of California Riverside or Santa Barbara," said Stephen Varvis, dean of the college.

At the same time racial and ethnic diversity has increased among college students. The percentage of students of color (not including international students) in each incoming class went from 22 percent in fall 1995 to 30 percent in fall 2000.

The university is in the midst of an approximately $18 million building program to better serve students, faculty and staff. Planned facilities include a mathematics/science/technology building, a dining commons, a fine arts building and additional residence facilities.

Aiding growth is a new, five-year budget planning process that allowed FPU to finish the 1999-2000 fiscal year with a $183,000 surplus. The university also sold $1.1 million in bonds to complete the first phase of a new track-soccer complex and restructure debt.

Fresno Pacific University is an accredited Christian university. Located on a 42-acre, park-like campus in southeast Fresno, FPU has an enrollment of more than 1,700 students -- half graduate and half undergraduate. The university also enrolls 12,000 students annually in its professional development studies programs offered locally and throughout the world.


Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations