In November of 2001 a small group of Christians met in Chino, California to consider establishing a Reformed, Christian college on the West Coast. Parents and young people were often hesitant to travel great distances to the nearest Reformed college. Moreover, the West Coast had a significant number of students who would benefit from a specifically Reformed perspective in their college education.
Those present were motivated by a deep appreciation for higher education from a specifically Reformed and Christian perspective. Some had been educated in such Christian colleges. Others had enrolled their children in Reformed colleges. All of those present were convinced of the need to express the reign of Christ in higher education. This group, composed of believers from various Reformed churches, was convinced that establishing and maintaining a college committed to biblical principles would greatly benefit the diverse community and the Reformed congregations in the Pacific region.
This body unanimously agreed to establish a quality, four-year liberal arts program that would reflect the lordship of Jesus Christ from a visibly Reformed, biblical perspective in all aspects of its life and learning. All programs would then be taught in accordance with the Bible, God’s infallible and inerrant Word, as it is interpreted by the Reformed Standards: The Belgic Confession, The Heidelberg Catechism, The Canons of Dort, The Westminster Confession of Faith, and The Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms. In addition, the group agreed that the college should be governed by a self-perpetuating board of trustees whose members would be drawn from various Reformed and Presbyterian churches; those who embrace the Word of God, the Reformed Standards, and the college’s purpose statement.
As planning for the new college began, it was clear how very important God’s providence was for this effort. We began with nothing except a shared vision for a Reformed college on the West coast, and a commitment for that college to be established and maintained for God’s glory. There were several needs: board members committed to the same vision, faculty, staff, and administrators solidly dedicated to the Scripture and the Reformed confessions, students desiring a quality Christ-centered education with a Reformed worldview, and the necessary funding and facilities. All of these needs had to be provided by our sovereign Lord. So, when it came time to name the college it was appropriate for us to give credit to the Lord’s providential care and especially recognize His gracious provision.
Providence Christian College was incorporated in the state of California on November 12, 2002, and the first Board of Directors meeting was held on January 18, 2003. The following January, Providence took full possession of a campus in Ontario, California, and began renovating its five main buildings into classrooms, dorms, a library, a dining hall, and administrative offices; the college was granted permission to operate as a degree-granting institution in the state of California on December 9, 2004 by the Bureau for Private Post-Secondary and Vocational Education (BPPVE) with approval to offer 13 bachelor’s degree programs.
In the midst of this bustle, Providence inaugurated its first college president, Mr. Jim Den Ouden in June of 2004, and in September 2005 the college was privileged to welcome its first class of 22 students.
Immediately following approval by the BPPVE, Providence Christian College began the process of seeking accreditation with the regional accrediting body, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The college was granted eligibility status in December 2005 and candidacy status in February 2009.
On May 2, 2009, the Providence community gathered to celebrate the first commencement in the college’s history. Two months later, Dr. J. Derek Halvorson joined the administration on July 1 as the college’s second president, following the retirement of Mr. Jim Den Ouden.
On May 1, 2010, the college’s board of directors voted unanimously to move the college to Pasadena, where it took up residence on the campus of William Carey International University. Classes were held on the campus for the first time in the Fall of 2010.
The college’s candidacy for WASC accreditation advanced to the final stage in February of 2011 and WASC scheduled a site visit on campus in 2012. Providence received initial WASC accreditation in 2013.
On April 1, 2014, Providence installed its third President, Dr. Jim Belcher and developed a new three-year strategic plan.
In the Fall of 2015, Providence hosted it’s 10th Anniversary Celebration.
In December 2018, Providence moved to the new current campus in the heart of Old Pasadena.