Upland College Revisited

As the tagline on its sign indicates, Upland College was a place of "education for service." (Courtesy of the Brethren in Christ Historical Library and Archives)

Last Thursday, I flew into southern California to attend the Pacific Regional Conference’s annual meeting, as part of my work for the Brethren in Christ Church.

Finding myself with some down time one afternoon, I wandered around the West Arrow Highway/San Antonio Avenue area of town, stopped in for a tour of the Upland Brethren in Christ Church, and took in the sights. Along the way, I noticed some familiar buildings: they have different names now, and different purposes, but were recognizable nonetheless.

Upland College was started by the Brethren in Christ Church as Beulah College in the 1920s, just a few decades after they launched Messiah Bible School and Missionary Training Home in the east. After churning out some of the century’s leading Brethren in Christ churchmen and -women, the college officially closed its doors in 1964 when it was absorbed by Messiah College.

Today, the former campus of the school is used primarily by Pacific Christian Center, a multifaceted Brethren in Christ ministry; other buildings that once comprised the college are now leased commercially. Here are a few shots of the campus now and then. (Note: The current shots [color] are mine, and the other photos courtesy of the Brethren in Christ Historical Library and Archives.)

Seeing double? This building once housed Upland College's administrative offices (left); today, it serves as office space for a number of organizations and businesses.

Situated at the corner of San Antonio Avenue and Arrow Highway, Upland College's chapel served as a place of spiritual development for students (right); today, the chapel is part of Pacific Christian Center's multifaceted campus (left).

More photos from Upland College, past and present, after the jump.

The current entrance to Pacific Christian Center (note the chapel in the background)

Bill Hoke (left) teaches a class on Bible doctrine at Upland College in 1944.

Owen Alderfer (left) reads to students during a chapel service at Upland (Beulah) College during the 1943-1944 school year. The original caption on the back of this photo read: "Tuesday and Friday noons students gather in chapel for a period of devotion."

About Devin Manzullo-Thomas

Father to Lucas. Husband to Katie. Prof and administrator at Messiah College. PhD student at Temple University. Member of Grantham BIC.
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14 Responses to Upland College Revisited

  1. Thank-you for making “history come alive.” I’ve heard of Upland and wondered what had become of it’s property.

  2. Judy Book says:

    My father was a registrar at Upland College, my husband is a graduate and also worked recruiting students in the 1960’s. I was supposed to graduate, but the college closed before I finished my degree. There does not seem to be a complete history of the college on the web. I know that there is a book detailing the history of the college. It may have been written by Morris Sider. Are you interested in working on such a project? My brother-in-law in Indiana is willing to help with such an endeavor.

    Your pictures bring back many memories.

    • Devin Manzullo-Thomas says:

      Judy: Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you appreciate the photographs of Upland College I’ve posted. I was in Upland earlier this year, and it was great to learn a bit about the history of the school, the town, and the many Brethren in Christ connections to be made.

      On the topic of an online history: unfortunately, that’s not the kind of project I can take on right now, but if your brother-in-law is looking for assistance, I’m happy to provide it as I can. Morris Sider does indeed have a history of the college (written in the late 1960s or early 1970s) that would certainly be of assistance in such an endeavor. You or he could probably secure a copy by contacting Morris Sider directly; I have his contact info if you are interested.

    • Devin Manzullo-Thomas says:

      Judy: Used copies of Sider’s “A Vision for Service” are also available for sale at Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/vision-service-history-Upland-College/dp/B0006WOU62

  3. Pingback: The (Very) End of Upland College | the search for piety and obedience.

  4. Ron Fleming says:

    I think the Astara group had this College Campus as their location for a period sometime after 1975.

  5. John Rohrer says:

    Absolutely incredible to find this page! Just this morning, I’ve been looking at my grandmother’s photographs of her days at Upland Bible College. Though most of the pictures were glued to the album, I was able to scan several photos of my grandmother and her friends, so I might upload them to my Ancestry.com tree. Her name is Marjorie Boyer Rohrer. She attended at Upland in the mid-1930’s. After attending school, she returned to her home in Ashland County, Ohio, where she married, Paul Rohrer. They were lifelong members at Chestnut Grove Brethren in Christ Church, now Ashland Brethren In Church. I love the picture of Owen Alderfer leading the chapel service. He and his wife were influential in my early years of my Christian faith. When my grandparents visited California over the years, they would always make arrangements to visit with my grandmothers friends. Thanks for educating me on this wonderful school!

  6. Pingback: Brethren in Christ Historical Society Newsletter Now Online | The Search for Piety and Obedience

  7. Hey People….Upland College was premiere college in the late 50s and early 60s. Basketball team was outstanding….practiced with the LA Lakers few time

  8. A coach named Troutman was outstanding

  9. Doris Crider says:

    My years at Upland Academy in 1960 and Upland College in 1961 were some of the best years of my life!

  10. Arthur chris Heer says:

    Enjoyed the article.
    My dad Rev. Donald Heer, & Constance Tissot, attended the college some time in the late 30’s. I was the first borne. Dad took a church in Kansas and then in Indiana.
    Brother in Christ. Was my roots, we now attend the wesleyan denomination.

  11. Lan Stewart Farley says:

    I attended both Upland Academy and graduated from Upland College in 1962. Upland College was always the stepchild of Messiah College. Although there were some good professors there and an outstanding Dean (Ernest Boyer) who later became the Chancellor of the State University of New York, United States Commissioner of Education and President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. His contribution to teaching in America is still valued today. He was an inspiration to all who valued an intellectual life at Upland.

    Another star at Upland was Royce Saltzman who was a professor of music and choir director. He has had a distinguished career at the University of Oregon and is highly respected in the world of choral music.

    Paul Trautwein was another mentor to many young men and women as an example of the importance of physical fitness and sportsmanlike conduct. As a “mature adult”, I still value his contribution to my physical well-being today.

    I remember Upland College not as an institution of higher learning, although that was its purpose, but as a community of learners where secular ideas were allowed to creep through the dogma of the founding fathers. One such experience was a seminar in 1961 on U.S-Soviet relations. It was an antidote to the Cold War rhetoric of the time.

    As I reflect back upon those years at Upland, I ask myself: Where was I when the student protests were going on in Mississippi and throughout the South? Where was I when the Viet Nam protests were raging across the country? Where was I when people my age were protesting President Nixon’s atrocious behavior? Fortunately, there were the Claremont Colleges five miles to the west where students were engaged in addressing solutions to real-life problems. What were we at UC doing? We were running around Southern California trying to save souls. How did that work out?

    As I read some of the comments on this site, it seems like deja vu. One link actually hosts a Trump ad (Sider). Our education at Upland was a very limited and circumscribed beginning, but if we don’t progress beyond the dogma and entrenched ideas of the past, I worry for our future.

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