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The John Muir Center for Environmental Studies

University of the Pacific

John Muir Center logo

Program Objectives

The John Muir Center was established in 1989 to encourage greater use of the John Muir Papers by the scholarly community and to promote the study of California and its impact upon the global community. The John Muir Papers, housed in the University library's Holt-Atherton Special Collections, are among the University's most important resources for scholarly research of John Muir, who remains one of California's most important historical figures, with global impact.

In an effort to continue Muir's legacy as a guardian of the environment, the John Muir Center encourages students to get involved in sustainability and green initiatives at Pacific. One avenue for involvement is joining a student organization that focuses on the environment and sustainability.

The Center's goals include:

  • foster a closer academic relationship between UOP and the larger community of scholars, students, and citizens interested in environmental udies;
  • provide greater opportunities for research and publication by UOP faculty and students;
  • offer opportunities for out-of-classroom learning experiences;
  • promote multi-disciplinary curriculum development.

Program Activities

These objectives are implemented through a variety of activities sponsored and promoted by the John Muir Center, including:

  • John Muir Newsletter - published until 2015. This was an excellent quarterly publication with articles, book reviews and news of interest to Muir scholars; back issues are still valuable and are available online in digital format.
  • Periodic seminars and workshops to offer faculty, students and other scholars a forum for presenting Environmental research results, to discuss ways and methods of utilizing Environmental resources in ongoing classes, and to facilitate multi-disciplinary planning and programs;
  • Grant projects designed to raise special funds for faculty and student research, for a computerized database and bibliography for the John Muir Papers, for collection development, and for Environmental history projects such as the Bank of Stockton project to catalog and make computer-accessible a major collection of historical Environmental photographs;
  • Course offerings and internship with a regional or environmental emphasis. Courses are offered by a number of departments, including Biology, English, Geology/Geography, History, Political Science, Philosophy, Chemistry, Engineering, and Economics.
  • In addition to traditional papers and library research using primary sources held by the University, students have conducted first-hand video interviews of knowledgeable community members as well as created digital media and websites on who John Muir was, his importance, his legacy, and his impact.
  • The John Muir Center:
    1. facilitates the utilization, coordination, and marketing of existing courses having an environmental scope or emphasis;
    2. offers support services for faculty interested in adding an environmental component to ongoing courses;
    3. encourages the utilization of intercession, summer school, and vacation times for specialized offerings in an environmental context;
    4. assists faculty interested in team-teaching or pooling courses with an environmental emphasis in order to promote multi-disciplinary curricular development.
  • The John Muir Center hosts a regular symposium with a thematic emphasis on some aspect of regional/environmental studies. The California History Institute, started at the University of the Pacific in 1954 by "Mr. California", Dr. Rockwell Hunt, and subsequently sponsored by the John Muir Center and its predecessors, has been enlarged and incorporated into this annual symposium. See abstracts and information about these symposia here:



Director: William Swagerty, Ph.D., University of the Pacific (Although Dr. Swagerty is retiring in 2023, the University will continue the mission of the John Muir Center through its wide-ranging programs.)

For Further Information

For further information contact the staff at

The John Muir Center for Environmental Studies (official website)
University of the Pacific
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, California 95211
Phone: (209) 946-2527
Fax: (209) 946-2578

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