California Baptist University
California Baptist University seal.svg
Former names
California Baptist College (1950–1998)
MottoLive Your Purpose
TypePrivate university
Established1950; 72 years ago (1950)
Religious affiliation
California Southern Baptist Convention
Endowment$82.9 million (2020)[1]
PresidentRonald L. Ellis
Students11,491 (Fall 2021)
Location, ,
United States

Coordinates: 33°55′48″N 117°25′30″W / 33.93000°N 117.42500°W / 33.93000; -117.42500[2]
CampusSuburban, 160 acres (65 ha)
Colors   Blue and gold
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division I, Western Athletic Conference
Western Water Polo Association (men's water polo)
Golden Coast Conference (women's water polo)
California Baptist University logo.svg

California Baptist University (Cal Baptist or CBU) is a private Christian university in Riverside, California. Founded in 1950 as California Baptist College, it is affiliated with the California Southern Baptist Convention, an organization affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. CBU is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.



Founded in 1950 as California Baptist College in El Monte, California, the new college enrolled 120 students during its first year under the leadership of the first president, P. Boyd Smith. In 1953, the college moved under the wing of the California Southern Baptist Convention, the same year that the first edition of the Angelos, the college yearbook, was published. In 1954, the college received its charter from the state of California.

Soon, the college outgrew its facilities, and, in 1955, moved its campus to the then rural city of Riverside. The college moved to a more spacious 75.6 acre campus which already had constructed buildings that could be used for offices, classrooms, and living areas. What is now known as the Annie Gabriel Library, was the first to be built in 1921. In 1927, the original administration building was constructed whereas the W.E. James Building was built in 1934. The building which now houses the ceramics studio and boiler was constructed in 1938. In 1958, the college named its second president, Dr. Lloyd Simmons.

1960s and 1970s

In 1961 CBU received full accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. In 1964, the college began expanding with the construction of the Lancer Arms apartment complex and the student population reached 500.

In 1968, Smith and Simmons residence halls were built and named in honor of the college's first two presidents. These new dorms allowed for higher enrollment at the college.

In 1971, Dr. James R. Staples was named as the third college president. Two years later, the Wallace Book of Life Theater was built. In 1978, the college's $800,000 note for the Riverside campus was finally paid and was burned in a college-wide celebration.

1980s and 1990s

Dr. Russell R. Tuck became the college's fourth president in 1984. The same year, the first graduate degree was granted and accreditation was received by the National Association of Schools of Music.

In 1991, Wanda's Place was established, an on-campus cafe named in honor of a popular long-time college employee. Three years later, Dr. Ronald L. Ellis was installed as the fifth college president and the next year school enrollment reached 1,000.

California Baptist College became the first college on the West Coast to receive accreditation by Association of College Business Schools and Programs in 1996. The next year enrollment reached 2,000.

In September 1998, California Baptist College officially became California Baptist University.


The campus again expanded in 2001 with the addition of the University Place Apartments.

The School of Music was established in 2002 with the new Dr. Bonnie G. Metcalf School of Education following in 2003. The same year, the new university complex, known as the Yeager Center, was opened housing classrooms, administration offices, the cafeteria, computer labs, and professors' offices.[3]

In mid-2004, new housing complexes were built, and later in the year the university enrolled its first students in the Masters of Music degree program.

The School of Engineering was established in 2006. The inaugural class in the fall of 2007 had 55 students.


CBU added its College of Health Science in the fall of 2010 when enrollment exceeded 4,700 students.[4] Also in September 2010, CBU also opened its third campus restaurant, Brisco's Village Café.[5]

On August 30, 2011, nursing student Domaine Javier was expelled from California Baptist University for being a transgender woman.[6] The reason given for Javier's expulsion was that she was accused of "committing or attempting to engage in fraud, or concealing identity" by having applied and being accepted as a woman to the school. A California state trial court handed partial victories to both the university and Javier.[7] In 2014, Javier was awarded $4,000 plus attorney's fees.

On September 8, 2015, CBU offered its first doctoral degree, a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) through the School of Nursing.

The CBU Events Center opened in November 2017.[8] The following year, the CBU Dennis and Carol Troesh Engineering Building was opened.[9]


Annie Gabriel Library

The Annie Gabriel Library is named in honor of Miss Annie Gabriel, whose gifts enabled the initial development of the collection.


In addition to more than 110,000 print volumes and 150,000 e-book holdings, the library provides access to over 30,000 journals titles and 79 databases. The library has a growing collection of more than 17,000 DVDs and streaming videos. Along with a research computer lab, the library is equipped with wireless service throughout the building.

Special Collections

School architecture

California Baptist University is known in the city of Riverside for its Mission Revival style architecture. Many of the older structures on campus were built during the 1920s and 30s, a time when this particular style was popular. The Mission Inn in downtown Riverside is also built in the Mission Revival style. Buildings that have been built on campus have followed this architectural tradition.

In 2004, CBU was recognized in a November 2004 article in the American School and University magazine, which recognizes education design excellence, for the construction of the Yeager Center, by Kroh/Broeske Architects in Riverside. The university also won honors from the city of Riverside.

In 2005 the JoAnn Hawkins Music Building was built. It houses the Collinsworth School of Music.

A new building for CBU's Jabs School of Business was dedicated and opened for use in August 2012.

A new Recreation Center building was dedicated in January 2013 offering a wide range of physical fitness options to students and employees.

A new Events Center opened in November 2017 to host various university sports and commencement events.[8]

A new building for CBU's Gordon and Jill Bourns College of Engineering, the Dennis and Carol Troesh Engineering Building, was dedicated and opened for use in July 2018.[9]

A new main entrance to the CBU campus was opened in August 2019.

On September 20, 2019, CBU dedicated a new Athletic Performance Center featuring a 10,800 square-foot weight room, the largest such facility for an NCAA Division I non-football institution in the state of California.[10]

Student activities

Student body composition as of May 2, 2022
Race and ethnicity[11] Total
Hispanic 38% 38
White 37% 37
Other[a] 10% 10
Black 6% 6
Asian 6% 6
Foreign national 2% 2
Native American 1% 1
Pacific Islander 1% 1
Economic diversity
Low-income[b] 43% 43
Affluent[c] 57% 57

Annual campus traditions

CBU's Campus Activities office hosts a range of annual social and recreational events, including: Fortuna Bowl, an intramural flag football championship game with men's and women's teams on the campus front lawn in November; Midnight Madness, a high-energy event which kicks off the basketball season by introducing the men's and women's basketball teams to hundreds of cheering students packed into the events center. School spirit is raised with games and relays like the dunk contest and three-point shootout, and free food and prizes for the fans; Yule, a formal dinner and night of entertainment at a premier Southern California venue where the year's Mr. & Ms. CBU are revealed in early December; Late Night Breakfast, held during Finals Week of each semester, where school faculty and staff serve up breakfast to students; and TWIRP (The Woman Is Required to Pay), a week-long event where female students invite male students to fun activities and events throughout the week. Highlights of the week include: a Barn Dance, complete with a caller, square dancing, and costume contest, on- and off-campus events including concerts, Angels and Dodgers baseball games, and trips to Disneyland, Sky Zone and other Southern California excursions.

International Service Projects

International Service Projects, or ISP, is the CBU-based program through which students can serve overseas for three weeks during the summer. An ISP team is generally made up of 8–10 students and is led by a CBU faculty or staff member. Since being established in 1997, ISP teams have served in more than 40 countries on six continents. While overseas, the teams participate in a variety of ministries that may include music, drama, sports, ethnography, children's ministry, and teaching English. Student can also participate in United States Service Projects, or USPs, which are arranged similarly to ISPs but target U.S. destinations.


Main article: California Baptist Lancers

The California Baptist (Cal Baptist) athletic teams are called the Lancers. The university is a member of the Division I level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), primarily competing in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) for most of its sports since the 2018–19 academic year;[12][13][14] while the men's water polo team competes in the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA); and the women's water polo team competes in the Golden Coast Conference (GCC). The Lancers previously competed in the Pacific West Conference (PacWest) of the NCAA Division II ranks from 2011–12 to 2017–18; and in the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) from 1987–88 to 2010–11.

Cal Baptist competes in 21 intercollegiate varsity sports:[15] Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming & diving, track (distance), water polo and wrestling; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, stunt, swimming & diving, track (distance), volleyball and water polo; and co-ed sports include cheerleading and dance. Women's beach volleyball will be a varsity sport in the future.



Incorporation, accreditations and memberships

California Baptist University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. In March 2011, WASC awarded a 10-year accreditation reaffirmation to the university, the maximum accreditation period granted by WASC.[16] It is the first time in CBU's more than 60-year history that the institution has received the maximum accreditation extension.

In addition, CBU's various schools and colleges hold accreditations from and memberships with organizations related to their specific disciplines. These accreditations and memberships currently include:

The university is a member of the American Association of Higher Education, the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities, the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, and the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges.

CBU is affiliated with LECOM, the largest medical school in the United States, offering qualified students early acceptance to their medical, dental, and pharmacy schools.[20][21][22]

California Baptist University is incorporated under the laws of the State of California as a university of arts and sciences, and as such grants the degrees of Bachelor of Applied Theology, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Architecture, Master of Arts, Master of Business Administration, Master of Music, Master of public health, Master of Social Work, Master of Science, Doctor of Business Administration, Doctor of Psychology, and Doctor of Nursing Practice.

Notable alumni


  1. ^ Other consists of Multiracial Americans & those who prefer to not say.
  2. ^ The percentage of students who received an income-based federal Pell grant intended for low-income students.
  3. ^ The percentage of students who are a part of the American middle class at the bare minimum.


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: California Baptist University
  3. ^ "California Baptist University & La Sierra University". 951 Magazine. July 23, 2005. Archived from the original on October 9, 2007. Retrieved January 30, 2008.
  4. ^ September 27, 2010 "CBU Fall enrollment posts new record, historic one-year" from university website Archived September 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ September 2010 "Brisco's Café opens at California Baptist", from university website Archived October 16, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Riverside Cal Baptist expels transgendered student".
  7. ^ Journal, A. B. A. "Transgender student and Baptist college both claim victory in lawsuit over expulsion". ABA Journal.
  8. ^ a b "New Cal Baptist University arena in Riverside impresses on opening day". Press Enterprise. November 11, 2017. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  9. ^ a b "CBU dedicates new building for College of Engineering". California Baptist University. July 26, 2018. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  10. ^ "Athletics Performance Center opens for Lancer Athletics". September 20, 2019.
  11. ^ "College Scorecard: California Baptist University". United States Department of Education. Retrieved May 8, 2022.
  12. ^ "CBU Rejoins NCCAA". California Baptist University. It transitioned to Division I in 2018-2019. March 25, 2011. Retrieved June 4, 2011.
  13. ^ "CBU Announces D1, WAC Move". CBU Athletics.
  14. ^ "A visual look at 2020-21 NCAA championships |". Retrieved July 31, 2021.
  15. ^ "Lancers to join PacWest". California Baptist University. October 15, 2010. Retrieved June 4, 2011.
  16. ^ California Baptist University. "CBU earns first-ever 10-year accreditation reaffirmation". CBU Website. CBU. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved March 7, 2011.
  17. ^ Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education Archived May 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine (CAATE)
  18. ^ "ABET -". Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  19. ^ "Applicants | Council on Education for Public Health". Archived from the original on June 16, 2013. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  20. ^ "CBU Inks Agreement With Nation?S Largest Medical School". Archived from the original on October 27, 2020.
  21. ^ "Early Acceptance Program". LECOM. Retrieved December 20, 2021.
  22. ^ "LECOM Affiliated Colleges and Universities" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on December 2, 2021.
  23. ^ " is available at". is available at
  24. ^ "Charlie Rose - Rick Warren". Archived from the original on June 6, 2009. Retrieved August 1, 2009.
  25. ^ "All Together Separate Lyrics". Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  26. ^ "Bio". Archived from the original (PDF) on August 2, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2019.