The first of the eight presidents on the Healdsburg campus of what came to be known as Pacific Union College was Sidney Brownsburger, a graduate of the University of Michigan. He saw the conventional college as the pattern for Seventh-day Adventist schools, but he also strongly encouraged industrial education; accordingly, two and a half hours of manual labor were required of all students daily. Classes in shoemaking, tentmaking, and blacksmithing, as well as gardening and care of cows and horses were offered. Domestic service was performed mostly by girls in the kitchen, laundry and dining room.
Though the school had started in 1882, it was 1884 before college level students were on campus. For all Brownsburger insisted there be a strong bent toward Christian service, at home, but especially abroad. “The college must be a recruiting station for the mission field,” he said.
By 1886, when Brownsberger withdrew from the college’s presidency, he could look back on an educational achievement that assured the continuance of the first Seventh-day Adventist college in the entire west coast of the United States as a strong, growing reality.