First elected as a vice president of Healdsburg College, Elton D. Sharpe was asked in 1903 to assume the presidency when President Marion Cady was called to serve at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. President Sharpe served for one year, from 1903 to 1904.
During the Sharpe administration, the college’s industrial program was badly mangled when a number of these enterprises were closed by the Board. At the same time the California Conference of the church began diverting part of the proceeds from the sale of Ellen White’s book Christ’s Object Lessons to Adventist elementary schools - proceeds that had earlier been assigned exclusively by Mrs. White to the support of Healdsburg College.
Though President Sharpe’s tenure at Healdsburg was short, his service was marked by helpful attention to the college’s most urgent needs most of them financial. Upon his departure, he was named educational secretary of the California Conference, and in 1906 her returned to Healdsburg to serve as a teacher of science and New Testamant Greek. By that time the school had taken the name “Pacific Union College.”