Walter I. Smith in 1934 become the president of Pacific Union College on the day he passed examinations for the degree of doctor of education. He had been serving as the world director of education of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
President Smith has been described as “a brilliant and highly regarded scholar, a considerate and pleasant man, whose great desire was to see P.U.C. continue its quiet progress.” On one of his several visits to Howell Mountain before becoming president, he remarked that he felt P.U.C. approached the model of a school of the prophets more than some he had seen.
Growth and advancement characterized President Smith’s tenure: In 1934, an Advanced Bible School on campus was so successful it later became the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary; an attempt was made to start a graduate education program on campus; buildings were added until the college took on the appearance of a modern educational campus.
Under President Smith’s leadership, Pacific Union College moved from a school of educational pioneers and innovators, to a solidly-grounded, accredited educational institution, fully capable of fulfilling its God-given mission: training the whole man - body, mind, and spirit.