Henry L. Sonnerberg, the fifth Pacific Union College president to have Walla Walla College connections, began his leadership of the college in July of 1954, but was tragically taken by death in 1955. In the few short months of his leadership he vigorously moved the college forward in a number of important ways.
Upon arrival in Angwin, President Sonnenberg found that intensive study by the college faculty had resulted in the development of an unprecedented and interesting realignment of courses of study. He promptly activated the suggested new curriculum which was designed to appeal to a great variety of student interests and needs. Of it he said, "Many young people, whose course or occupational interests and aptitudes can not be accommodated by the conventional and traditional offerings, will now find, much to their satisfaction, a place at P.U.C. especially prepared for them." Student enrollment rose to 760 during his brief administration.
Dr. Sonnenberg's emphasis on P.U.C.'s graduate studies program, and his strengthening of the school's agricultural offerings were accomplished facts before a heart attack during his sleeping hours on September 1, 1955, claimed his life.