Our Founding

“But you say … ‘It will cost a tremendous struggle.’ That is certainly true. But what are we here for?”

Redlands has always been the type of place where dreams and inspiration mingle together. Take the example of our founder, the Reverend Jasper Newton Field. Shortly after arriving here in 1906, he recognized Redlands’ idyllic setting and prosperous community as the perfect place for a university to challenge the greatest in the nation.

The American Baptist Convention was seeking to establish a new university in the Golden State, having lost its prospects for a Bay Area site in the devastating San Francisco earthquake that year. With their attention turning to Southern California, the passionate Field took action, challenging the Redlands Board of Trade and his parishioners at the First Baptist Church of Redlands to combine their efforts to bring the American Baptists to Redlands.

Inspired by Field’s tireless campaigning and a deep sense of civic pride, the resourceful Redlands coalition quickly secured the land and funding needed to realize its newfound dream. The University of Redlands was officially chartered on November 25, 1907, admitting its first students in 1909.

A lot has changed since then, but the activism, generosity and independent spirit of our founders continue to guide us today.