The Pacific Union College presidency of Charles Walter Irwin began in 1909 and continued until 1921; he was named President having just returned to the United States from service in Australia as principal of the school that became Avondale College.
Under his presidency, President Irwin said at the dedication of “Pacific College” as it was called in its first year, the school would provide for “the education of the whole man.” He brought together a faculty of “giants in the land” each of whom were fully dedicated to that goal.
A bronze plaque that still graces the Pacific Union College campus, declares of President Irwin that “With faith in his heart and a pickax in his hand, he carved a college out of a hillside.”
While it is true that he literally moved mountains to accommodate new college buildings, it must also be said that under his presidency there was trained a small army of well-prepared young people who fearlessly carried the Christian gospel to the far corners of the earth.
President Irwin’s twelve years of leadership on Howell Mountain constituted an era of pioneering in which standards of Christian higher education were set in place that would endure through all succeeding administrations of the school.